Hundreds march in Katherine for a frack-free future

April 22, 2016

Hundreds marched down the main street of Katherine in the Northern Territory on April 20 to call for the protection of water, country and culture from fracking gasfields.

From Alice Springs to Arnhem Land, pastoralists, Traditional Owners, kids, community, musicians and whip crackers turned out to have their say.

Fracking is shaping up to be a major election issue as the NT heads to the polls in August. The Country Liberal Party (CLP) government insists the practice can be done safely, while Labor has vowed to institute a moratorium if elected.

The NT government commissioned a report in 2014 that found that fracking could be done safely if there was a strong regulation system in place. But, instead of setting minimum standards, the government is putting the onus on companies to prove they have taken steps to mitigate risk to the lowest practicable level.

Former NT Labor leader turned independent Delia Lawrie is calling on the government to hold a referendum on whether to allow fracking, either in July at the federal election or August at the state election. Both the CLP and Labor have rejected the proposal.

When asked if banning fracking would cost too many local jobs, Lawrie said: "Local sustained jobs are what we need in the Territory and they come from tourism, farming, building infrastructure and services like health and education."

It is clear that the August poll will be a real opportunity to ensure the next parliament is made up of candidates who understand the risks this industry poses, and are courageous enough to stand up for the rights of all people to clean water and a healthy environment.

Photos: Jeff Tan

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