Alice Springs Town Council Fails to Act to Protect Local Water Supplies

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – Members of the Central Australia Frack Free Alliance are extremely disappointed that Alice Springs Town Council failed to pass a motion last night that would protect the town’s water supply from the risk of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

 

Alice Springs draws its water from the Roe Creek borefield in the Amadeus Basin, which the Northern Territory government considers to be a “large exploration target” for shale gas. The area currently has the Mereenie and Palm Valley conventional gas fields run by Santos and Central Petroleum respectively. There are currently five pending permit applications from Central Petroleum and its affiliates to explore for shale gas in the Amadeus basin.

 

The Northern Territory Government has been misleading the public in saying that we have been fracking for years in the Territory and implying that it is therefore safe. While hydraulic fracture stimulation has been applied to conventional gas reserves, largely in the 1990s, the process is quite different for unconventional shale gas. This creates much greater risks for water contamination and other environmental and community health impacts.

 

While Councillors maybe lured by the industry spin that there will be economic benefits for the region they are too shortsighted to see that without easily accessible drinking water the local economy and in fact the whole community would crumble. It is just too great a risk to take when we are reliant on groundwater.

 

In the Northern Territory two local councils have already supported moratoria or passed motions of opposition or concern about unconventional gas mining. Leading the way in the NT, Wagait Shire Council passed its second anti-fracking motion on February 15 to oppose fracking as a process to explore and extract gas because of inherent risks, particularly its significant risk to water security.

 

The Wagait Shire decision was followed by a motion passed by Katherine Town Council on February 26 supporting a moratorium on fracking activity within the entire Katherine municipality. There are now more than 60 councils Australia-wide who have passed similar motions, with all mainland states now represented.

 

Tanya Hall

Central Australian Frack Free Coordinator

 

 

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5 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Steve Brown
    Posted April 17, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Being informed Phil doesn’t mean looking around for propaganda that backs up what you already believe.
    The trouble with the Green movement and why it is subject to so much ridicule in the real World is that while they clearly think they are somewhere else – kinda like one goldfish in the pond moralizing at the others for pissing in the pond!
    There is another side to this debate and a whole industry, one that employs people, provides services, creates wealth!
    Yeh you know the stuff we need to keep you in a job Phil!
    Councillors and those making decision on these issues need to take a well balanced view that looks at the whole picture, not just follow in lemming like fashion to the cliff edge simply because somewhere some pot smoking greenie imagines it all a great plot to end the world!
    Further, Phil, the idea of you presenting yourself and for that matter the same goes for the other Greens as some kind of experts on the subject is laughable especially when you talking to the likes of myself who have spent a lifetime in and around the drilling industry, hands on!
    I’d bet there’s not one among you who’s ever got their hands dirty! Reading propaganda doesn’t make you knowledgeable, Phil, it actually has the opposite outcome.

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  2. Phil Walcott
    Posted April 16, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Having attended last Monday night’s Alice Springs Council meeting, I wish to express my dismay and disappointment at the lack of knowledge, understanding and awareness of the issues around hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that were evident from those opposing the motion.
    Where Councillors claimed a lack of knowledge, I attached a compendium of findings demonstrating the risks and harm associated with the practices compiled by Concerned Health Professional of New York (see http://www.concernedhealthyny.org and open the relevant first link).
    That same information was supplied to Council members weeks ago but it would appear that they chose not to inform their views.
    The concerns of the health professionals centred around the technology irrespective of the geography or product being extracted. Once again, I urge ALL Members to make some time to familiarise themselves with the contents of the 103 page document.
    How much more convincing do they need? The spurious arguments presented against the motion held no strength in evidence.
    The claims that the have no jurisdiction over the process because “it’s not happening within the boundaries of the municipality” is like saying the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had no impact outside the drop zone!
    If they are acting in the capacity as my elected representatives, then they need to make relevant, informed and educated decisions on my behalf; not ones based on a purely fiscally economic and political agenda being driven by the Northern Territory and Federal Governments.
    I urge the elected members to please make the time to invest in reading and comprehending the contents prior to the next General Council Meeting when the final votes will be lodged. I look forward to their reply in response.
    Phil Walcott
    Resident and Rate Payer of Alice Springs

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  3. Geoff Dawson
    Posted April 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    This council is proving to be better than those previous.
    It has probably taken longer for this to be shown but I’m glad to see common sense prevail.
    We have to stop letting those loud-foul-mouthed anti everything crowd get away with their bullying behaviour.

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  4. Barend du Preez
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Don’t let yourself go the way of NSW.
    Obviously the NSW EPA is a toothless tiger, the Minister is a stooge, the State government doesn’t want to fight with the corporations that installed them in office, it’s open slather on the rape and plunder of our environment in the time we have left to exist on this planet.
    It’s all a bit depressing and that’s what they want too; because it results in a lack of a concerted opposition to their continued activities.
    Make a stand before they make a start or you may have to fight this out for generations.
    Good luck.

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  5. Fred the Philistine
    Posted April 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

    You have to ask, really what does the council do other than pick up rubbish and raise rates. This council is poor and needs to lift its game.

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