NT Govt funds pro-fracking group, says environmentalist

2619 Jesse Hancock OKLETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – We condemn the use of more public money by the gas loving Gunner Government to prop up the fracking industry in the NT, following reports $450,000 in taxpayer funds has been granted to the pro gas industry arm of the CSIRO, GISERA.

 

GISERA (Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance) is not an independent scientific body. Rather it is overseen by a collection of fracking executives who want to see gas wells pierce the Territory like a pin cushion.

 

We wouldn’t be accepting cigarette research from tobacco companies, so why are we accepting fracking research from the fracking industry?

 

This is a totally unacceptable use of taxpayer funds. From Texas junkets to paying gas-linked researchers to tell us problems could be managed with Government-funded regulation – it’s inappropriate that taxpayers are footing the bill at a time when money is tight in the Territory.

 

The fracking industry has been proven to be financially unviable off the back of a full decade of losses in the United States. Gunner is throwing taxpayer cash at an industry that will do very little for our economy, and guzzle up and pollute precious water in the meantime.

 

The NT Government [needs] to explicitly publish how much money has been spent on fracking related expenses since elected in 2016.

 

Jesse Hancock (pictured)
Protect Country Alliance

 

 

UPDATE March 9: GISERA director replies.

 

2619 Damian Barrett OKSir – The claims made by Mr Hancock about the CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) are not correct.

 

There are genuine concerns about the gas industry’s potential impacts on communities, water resources and the land, and CSIRO’s GISERA is designed to undertake independent and peer reviewed research that helps reduce these uncertainties.

 

GISERA brings the significant resources and expertise of the CSIRO to bear on such questions. Reducing uncertainties about potential impacts using the best available science is in the national interest; that is, the interests of everyone.

 

The governance structure for CSIRO’s GISERA is designed to provide for and protect research independence and transparency of research outputs.

 

The GISERA committees which determine the topics and approve funding for research are 80% dominated by members who have no connection to or interest in the gas industry.

 

The 20% industry representation provides other independent committee members with an understanding of industry operation.

 

All minutes of every committee meeting are publicly available on CSIRO’s GISERA web site including decisions around research funding. All research reports and results are similarly publicly available on the GISERA web site. 

 

Dr Damian Barrett (pictured)

CSIRO Research Director and GISERA Director

Canberra

 

 

 

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