While it isn’t the final word from the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory, the draft report is certainly a welcome indication of the results to come – that the risks associated with onshore natural gas development and fracking can be managed with effective regulation in place.
Released yesterday, the Inquiry’s draft report outlines 120 recommendations which will eventually be presented to the Government for it to use in its assessment and decision about whether the Northern Territory will lift the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing allowing for the recommencement of operations within its borders.
A detailed report, taking 12 months to finalise, reflects a more commonly held understanding that, if appropriately regulated, an industry which supports economy and employment across Australia can continue safely, without posing significant risk to the community or the environment.
Its good news for industry, consumers, employees, contractors and community. Natural gas is a viable long-term option for the security of Australia’s energy needs and provides a number of benefits at a local, state and national level.
We only need to look to jurisdictions such as Queensland to see the tangible impacts that a developed natural gas industry can provide.
APPEA Director South Australia / Northern Territory Matthew Doman said: “Importantly, the draft report confirms that shale gas development would have significant economic and employment benefits for the NT.
“Justice Pepper’s draft report echoes the conclusion reached by numerous other scientific inquiries and reviews that any risks associated with hydraulic fracturing can be minimised or eliminated with proper regulation.
“The industry supports robust, effective and efficient regulation, and will consider whether the report’s recommendations are appropriate to achieve this.”
“Gas companies stand ready to invest billions of dollars in new projects in the Territory if the industry is allowed to resume exploration activity.
“There is no reason the Territory cannot manage the safe, sustainable development of its considerable natural gas resources.”
But until such a time as the Government is able to make its final decision – we certainly hope that industry is afforded the opportunity to continue to invest in and safely develop an industry capable of invigorating economy and community alike.