Opposition to gas expansion on show during NT Resources Week

September 15, 2023
Climate campaigners 'die' outside the NT Resources Week conference. Photo: Stephen W Enciso

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.

Fences, extra private security and police greeted climate activists who came to voice their opposition to the NT’s gas expansion plans.

NT Labor has ignored the warnings of experts, as well as motions passed by its own rank-and-file, to keep pushing its climate destroying policies.

It gave the green light to fracking for gas in the Beetaloo Basin in May, which prompted the No New Gas Coalition to form.

This group has been mobilising to stop new gas projects. Its 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.”

Tamboran Resources CEO Joel Riddle attended the conference. 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 and crucial infrastructure for the gas to be processed.

A study, in Environmental Health, 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 gas is stopped.

Marcos A Orellana, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights, visited Darwin over August and September and sounded a warning.

“Recent scientific reports suggest that temperatures in the Northern Territories could make the region uninhabitable for humans," he said. "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.”

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