Inner West Council supports First Nations’ stand against shale gas fracking

Children of the Minyerri community, in the Northern Territory, protest last year against fracking on their land.

The Inner West Council decided on April 21 to stand with First Nations communities in the Northern Territory who are campaigning against Origin Energy’s plans to frack for shale gas on their land.

The motion, put by Greens councillor Louise Steer and seconded by Labor’s Mark Drury, means that the council joins several others, including Ryde, Randwick and Canterbury Bankstown, in declaring its opposition to Origin’s plans.

The council has a power purchase agreement with Origin to source 20% of its renewable energy from a solar farm in Moree, so it was in a good position to add some pressure.

The motion fits with its stated aim to be a net-zero emissions council by 2030. It also flows from the former Marrickville Council’s to oppose coal seam gas.

“The Alawa people have made it clear they don’t want fracking on their land. We’re one country and what happens in the NT rightly concerns us here in the Inner West”, Steer told Green Left.

Origin and energy giant Santos want to frack in the Beetaloo Sub-Basin, 760 kilometres south-east of Darwin. The vast majority of the Norther Territory’s oil and gas fields are sited in this basin. Origin Energy has exploration permits covering 18,500 square kilometres of Beetaloo.

The First Nations custodians are to the energy company’s plans.

Fracking for shale gas in the NT will raise Australia’s carbon emissions, and permanently damage the land and water supply by releasing toxic chemicals and causing earthquakes.

In February, The Australia Institute and 30 leading Australian scientists called for a permanent ban on unconventional gas development in the NT.