Native title holders to challenge energy giant Origin over fracking

NO FRACKING: Local communities are uniting to put a stop to an energy company's fracking plans.
NO FRACKING: Local communities are uniting to put a stop to an energy company's fracking plans.

A group of native title holders will challenge energy giant Origin next week over claims the company procured agreements from NT landholders for fracking exploration. 

Some of the areas held by Origin are just south of the Katherine township and could impact the region’s underground water aquifers. 

“A significant majority of native title holders across the Origin fracking permit areas have raised concerns with the company about being excluded from consultation meetings entirely,” Lauren Mellor from Protect Country Alliance said. 

“Or they have argued that crucial information about the scale and risks of proposed fracking gasfields was not presented to give landholders a fair opportunity to make an informed decision over the project.” 

Origin permits stretch from just south of Mataranka to include areas near Daly Waters, Larrimah, Hodgeson Downs and  Elliott as well as cattle stations and native title claims including Newcastle Waters, Nutwood Downs, Kalala, Tanumbirini, Amungee Mungee, Beetaloo and Tanandidgee. 

Elliot resident Stuart Nuggett will make the trip to Sydney next week to challenge Origin. Picture: Protect Country Alliance.

Elliot resident Stuart Nuggett will make the trip to Sydney next week to challenge Origin. Picture: Protect Country Alliance.

“A group of four native title holders from communities covered by the Origin gas permits (including Minyerri/Hodgeson Downs, Ngukurr and Elliott) will be attending the Origin Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Sydney on October 17,” Ms Mellor said. 

“They will speak in support of a resolution put by the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility. 

“A group of concerned shareholders are calling on the company to respond to hundreds of complaints by native title holders regarding the company's consultation practices.

“The resolution requests Origin conduct a review on the adequacy of its consultation process for gas fracking permits in the NT, and publicly report on the outcome of this review.

The Protect Country Alliance, previously called the Frack-free Alliance, along with native title holders will be holding an action outside the annual general meeting to launch a national campaign calling on Origin to drop plans to frack the NT.

“Several large firms have already offered support for the resolution ahead of the AGM after hearing directly from landholders about Origin's consultation failures and fracking risks to water, communities and the climate,” Ms Mellor said. 

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