Northern Territory Labor and the fossil fuel industry were on high alert on September 13 for the start of the NT Resources Week Conference at the Darwin Convention Centre.
New hired fences, extra private security and police greeted climate activists who came to voice their opposition to the territory’s gas expansion plans.
This group has been mobilising to push to stop new gas. It action during NT Resources Week follows a similar protest at the Developing Northern Australia conference at the end of July.
Activists were pushed off the stage and branded “extremists” for raising awareness about the urgent need to halt fossil fuel projects.
Dave Alton, an activist with No New Gas Coalition who participated in a die-in outside the entrance to the Convention Centre, thinks the real extremists are those who are deliberately wrecking the climate.
Observing the conference attendees, he said: “We have a responsibility to do what we can. Our generation is the one that produced this mess. These people, they’re stuck in the past. It’s just disgusting what they are planning to do here in the NT. At every opportunity, we will be here to let them know it’s criminal.”
Joel Riddle, Tamboran Resources CEO, was one attendee. The corporation wants to frack the Beetaloo Basin and is a key player in the NT Government’s proposed Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct.
The Middle Arm Precinct will establish a petrochemical facility as well as crucial infrastructure for the gas to be processed.
A study of populations residing within 5 kilometres of petrochemical facilities found that they had a 30% higher risk of developing leukemia.
The City of Palmerston is just 3 kilometres from Middle Arm.
The No New Gas Coalition has pledged to raise awareness about and stop the proposed development at Middle Arm, for which federal Labor has committed $1.5 billion.
Following pressure from the Greens and independent MPs, Labor has agreed to a Senate inquiry into Middle Arm.
Things are looking grim for Darwin and the NT unless more gas is stopped.
Marcos A. Orellana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights, who visited Darwin over August and September, sounded a warning.
“Recent scientific reports suggest that temperatures in the Northern Territories could make the region uninhabitable for humans. Despite that, petrochemical and oil and gas industries are lining up massive projects in the region. This threatens to make Darwin and the region a climate change sacrifice zone,” he said.