The independent Scientific Inquiry into fracking begins its final round of hearings and community forums across the Northern Territory today.
A hearing will be held in Katherine on February 7.
This final round of consultations will begin with community forums in Yirrkala and Nhulunbuy. These will be the first of 12 regional communities that the Inquiry will visit during its last face-to-face consultations.
The consultations provide an opportunity for the community to provide feedback on the draft Final Report and the draft Social Impact Assessment Framework produced by Coffey Services Australia Pty Ltd. Both reports are available for download on the Inquiry website.
Inquiry Chair, Justice Rachel Pepper, said the community forums give the public the opportunity to ask questions and participate in discussions.
“We invite people to use the community forums to get an update on the Panel’s work, including the content of the draft Final Report, ask questions and provide feedback in a less structured environment than the formal hearings,” Justice Pepper said.
“You do not need to register to attend a community forum and, unlike the formal public hearings, they are not livestreamed to the website.”
The Panel will also hold urban community forums from February 7 in Katherine, Alice Springs, Humpty Doo, Darwin and Tennant Creek.
The first round of formal hearings start in Darwin on 5 February 5 and will be followed by similar proceedings in Katherine, Alice Springs and finishing in Tennant Creek on February 12.
To date, the Panel has received more than 70 registrations to present at this final round of public hearings.
The hearings will again be recorded and live-streamed on the Inquiry’s website to provide access for those who cannot otherwise attend in person.
Venues and times for all community forums and hearings are available on the Inquiry’s website.
Justice Pepper said that a summary of the draft Final Report has been recorded in various Aboriginal languages. Audio files in language will be available for download on the Inquiry’s website.
Audio files in Yolgnu Matha, Burarra, WS Kriol and ES Kriol are now available on the website and Waramungu, Djambarpuyungu, Ngarriman Kriol, Murrinh Patha, Warlpirir, Western Arrernte audios will soon also be available.
The Panel also welcomes written submissions.
“The Panel will collate and analyse feedback from this round of consultation, along with written submissions, to inform the Final Report which will be completed in March,” Justice Pepper said.
Live streaming of the hearings and the schedule of appearances is accessible on its website.