Fracking In The Beetaloo Basin Will Go Ahead After The Senate Gave It The Green Light

"The Morrison government voted to give their gas industry donors free rein to desecrate the Beetaloo -- against the express wishes of Traditional Owners."

Beetaloo Vote

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A motion has fallen through in Parliament to stop controversial federal fracking funding in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin from continuing.

Despite the cross bench and Greens showing overwhelming support to axe the grants, Labor sided with the Coalition to get the projects started. Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe attributed the decision to the major parties receiving donations from fossil fuel companies, according to the AAP.

“Parliament’s vote today to green light a $50 million handout to help the gas industry frack the Beetaloo Basin is an unmitigated disgrace,” said GetUp First Nations Justice Director Larissa Baldwin. “The Morrison Government voted to give their gas industry donors free rein to desecrate the Beetaloo — against the express wishes of Traditional Owners.”

It was announced in August that the federal government would allocate $50 million worth of grants to gas and mining corporations to set up exploratory drilling projects in and around the Beetaloo and wider McArthur River Basins — despite concerns of lack of consent from First Nations communities. An estimated 60 Indigenous groups live around the area, and both the land and water at risk exist within sacred sites.

“I was down in the Beetaloo area in October, sitting and talking with the Traditional Owners, who definitely do not want fracking on their Country,” said Protect Country Alliance NT campaigner Graeme Sawyer. “There are people living in what could only be described as third world conditions. No floor in the house, tin roofs. And just next door you have a fracking company given millions and millions given to them by Parliament to drill a hole in the ground that’s going to cause problems for their water into the future. It just seems like complete insanity.”

Last Wednesday, Baldwin handed a petition with over 100,000 signatures to Greens Senators Lidia Thorpe and Dorinda Cox against gas exploration in the area. Recent stats by the Australian Polling Council revealed that 74 percent of people believe Traditional Owners, local communities, and land holders should have the right to say no to fracking projects that desecrate water, land, and sacred sites.

“We see these mining companies and Parliament acknowledging Country, but you can’t acknowledge Country and stab us in the back at the same time,” said Thorpe. “You can’t acknowledge Country and destroy our land, our water, our air, and our people.”

Photo: Supplied