Traditional owners have taken aim at the Top End's Indigenous representative body, accusing it of abandoning them during gas fracking negotiations.
The Northern Land Council is only consulting with malleable native-title holders, who'll sign agreements to progress gas development in the Beetaloo Basin, a parliamentary inquiry has been told.
"NLC so far has done nothing for us. If they did something these wells wouldn't be on our country in the first place," Beetaloo traditional owner Johnny Wilson told a Senate inquiry into oil and gas exploration and production in the basin on Monday.
He said some Beetaloo traditional owners had tried to arrange meetings with the NLC to express their concerns but had been rebuffed.
"The NLC is the mother of all stuff that happens on country but there is no communication," he said.
"Stop and talk to traditional owners, not just the ones that are hand picked," he said addressing NLC representatives, who were waiting to give evidence to the committee.
Plans to use hydraulic fracturing to unlock the Beetaloo's gas reserves have caused concerns among many Territorians, who fear the chemicals used in the process could contaminate groundwater.
Mr Wilson was critical of the NLC's consultation process saying some access agreements were not properly explained before they were signed more than a decade ago, resulting in communities being torn apart.
"There have been arguments because one person in a family has signed over these agreements without knowledge of the whole family or the whole clan," he said.
"It's destroying Aboriginal people. It's creating a huge fight."
Mr Wilson said he and other traditional owners were now travelling to communities in the region "to spread the word" about their concerns about fracking because the NLC wasn't properly representing them.
Garrwa and Yanyuwa man Gadrian Hoosan said he no longer wanted the NLC to represent his interests.
"We haven't got any interest anymore, we're people who are pulling together ourselves to stand up because they left us a long time ago," he said.
"We've had enough of the NLC so all the key people right across the Territory are pulling together as one now to try and fight against all these companies that are trying to destroy our basin."
Yanyuwa man Nicholas Fitzpatrick said the NLC and mining companies needed to better explain the risks of fracking and the process.
He agreed with Senator Sarah Hanson-Young that Aboriginal people had been the victim of coercive consultation in the past.
NLC lawyer Daniel Wells said Beetaloo custom dictated that only senior clan members had the power to make decisions about country.
"It's not a matter of numbers. It's not a matter of votes. It's not just a matter of consensus," he said.
According to its website, the NLC is legally obliged to consult with traditional landowners and other Aboriginal people with an interest in affected land.
All landowners must give informed consent before any action is taken to affect their lands, it says.
An independent inquiry in 2018 found that even small-scale developments in the Beetaloo could create more than 6500 full-time jobs and generate $2.8 billion for the cash-strapped NT economy over 25 years.
About 90 per cent of the Territory's supply comes from groundwater sources, according to the NT government.
Australian Associated Press