Community Responses to New Energy Sources: role of IA: Presentation 4

Hydraulic Fracturing in Australia's Northern Territory

Northern Land Council deal with land that is subject to two types of tenure - freehold and "native title"

Hydraulic fracturing new to aboriginal communities.

Caught by surprise by this kind of development.

Travelled to the US to gather information.

Last 10 years the number of proposals has increased dramatically.


Environmental concerns:

  • Main concern is around water similar to the US
  • Major acquifers in NT.
  • Aboriginal communities rely exclusively on groundwater acquifers.
  • The best development areas also have the most valuable water resources.
  • Multiple wells are likely to have a cumulative and widespread impact of 10,000s of wells.
  • No strategic IA only individual project IAs
  • Also an issue of abandonment of projects and implications for future generations. Impacts of abandoned wells in 150 years.


  • Refuse access to the land so no project
  • Develop better legislation with Government where we can't refuse access
  • Negotiate with companies to build to the highest standards
  • Seek companies to test integrity of wells during construction and regularly during operation. But who does this after wells a abandoned.
Social concerns:

  • Resource curse as large amounts of royalty may be released e.g. $2 billion to a community of a few thousand
  • Local communities not able to access work opportunities
  • Develop mechanisms to manage the royalties
  • Seek a minimum percentage to have local employees
  • Investigating industry specific local training centres

Cultural concerns:

  • Water has a cultural and spiritual significance to aboriginal communities
  • Drilling beneath sacred sites on a case by case basis ESP where sacred water systems are changing regularly
  • What about extracting oil/gas from another clans land is this theft and 'cultural assault'.







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