More than 300 people, and 22 horses, marched on the Northern Territory parliament on September 15 to demand a moratorium on unconventional gas production in the NT as part of the Our Land is Our Life rally.
The rally was organised by Frack-free NT and included contingents from Aboriginal communities, unions, farmers and environment groups.
Larrikeyah elder June Mills opened with a fiery welcome to country and a smoking ceremony, condemning what she called “white man’s law” that threatened water supplies and livelihoods.
Pastoralist Daniel Tapp, whose land is threatened by fracking exploration, gave a speech from horseback about the need to stand together. He held an Australian flag while a countryman on a horse beside him held the Aboriginal flag.
Tapp said that pastoralists and Aboriginal people needed to stand together to fight the gas companies and protect country.
Borroloola man, Gadrian Hoosan, spoke of the devastating impact of the McArthur River Mine on his community, where lead levels in fish had risen so high that children and old people are advised to not eat fish from the river. He said his community was now also under threat from unconventional gas company Armour.
Minister for mines Dave Tollner eventually fronted the rally. He claimed that all things good in the Territory “came from nature”, but that the environment could only be protected if there was strong economic growth. This meant that mining and the unconventional gas industry needed to expand.
Rally participants shouted Tollner down until he left.