The Northern Territory Labor Government’s moratorium on onshore gas exploration has been lifted, opening up massive economic opportunities in a move welcomed by the Australian Conservatives. The Northern Territory is, by far, the area of the nation most reliant on GST donations from other states.
The NT News reports the Territory Government has endorsed all 135 of the recommendations made by the scientific inquiry into the exploration, led by Justice Rachel Pepper.
The report was handed to Government late last month and introduces some of the strictest conditions surrounding onshore gas exploration in the country.
The Government has allocated $5.33 million over three years to put the recommendations in place.
Five of the recommendations have been given “in-principle support”, with an implementation plan expected to be complete in July.
Those recommendations include that the Government introduce a charge for water for all onshore shale gas activities, that gas companies pay for maintenance for roads used by gas projects and that the Government enact a compensation scheme for pastoral lessees.
In-principle support has also been given to the recommendation to amend NT court rules to not allow cost decisions to be made against someone who has brought litigation against the industry when that litigation is deemed to be “genuinely in the public interest”.
49 per cent of the Territory’s landmass will be covered by “no go zones” and will remain off-limits to gas companies.
The no go zones will cover areas of environmental, agricultural and cultural significance, as well as indigenous protected areas, national parks, towns and residential areas and places with significance to the tourism industry.
To read the full story by Matt Cunningham, Ashley Manicaros and Hayley Sorensen, click here.
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