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Beetaloo Basin approval risks water, health and cultural heritage

Climate and Health Alliance 2 mins read

The Climate and Health Alliance roundly condemns the decision by the Northern Territory Government to approve Tamboran’s latest Environmental Management Plan to enable fracking of gas in the Beetaloo Basin. 


CAHA CEO Michelle Isles said the Tamboran gas and fracking plan would impact the water quality of the region surrounding the Beetaloo Basin and CAHA joined the Nurrdalinji Traditional owners in asking the Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to use the ‘water trigger’ to pause action. The expanded water trigger provisions which passed Federal Parliament in December 2023, require the Independent Expert Scientific Committee scrutinise Tamboran’s water plans because of their likely significant impact on water resources.


“The contamination risk to ground and surface water in the NT will affect communities across the region and the methane impact from this project will accelerate climate change globally exacerbating existing health and wellbeing challenges in Australia,” Ms Isles said.


Apart from the obvious health issues associated with mining gas, Ms Isles said that fracking posed serious health harms including:

The project would be built upstream of Lake Woods - the NT’s largest freshwater lake and a place of immense cultural significance for First Nations people and their Elders.

Traditional Owners from the Beetaloo Basin have raised ongoing concerns about the severe cultural, environmental and health threats posed to water sources from fracking. 

“It is imperative that Minister Plibersek does everything in her power to ensure proper scrutiny of water impacts and risks," Ms Isles said.

Gas is a fossil fuel that is helping drive the climate crisis. Beetaloo and the associated Middle Arm precinct are a climate bomb, set to produce vast volumes of emissions which will not be offset. The NT Government estimated in the Pepper Inquiry Final Report that over 6,000 wells could be drilled in the Beetaloo Basin if fracking goes ahead. 

Beetaloo will breach Australia’s climate commitments and worsen the impacts of floods, droughts, fires and extreme temperatures, as well as threaten groundwater and damage cultural and heritage values. 

The International Energy Agency says no new fossil fuel projects, including gas, should be built anywhere in the world to maintain a safe climate for humanity in future.

Contact details:

For media inquiries and potential interviews please contact Michelle Isles on 0402 062 071.

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