Traditional owners from the far north-east of the Northern Territory have travelled to Sydney to confront an American Gas company over off-shore drilling plans.
Ryan Liddle

19 Jul 2013 - 8:55 PM  UPDATED 26 Aug 2013 - 10:48 AM

Local traditional owner groups have travelled from Maningrida to Sydney to meet representatives of Paltar Petroleum to express their concerns over off-shore drilling plans.

"If you come and drill in my country...I will, lose my identity, I will be a nobody,” says traditional owner Eddie Mason.

“With what I got at home, that gives me identification, that gives me, to be somebody. But if the oil comes in, you will destroy everything that I believe in.”

Paltar Petroleum currently has 32 gas and oil exploration applications in the Arnhem region.

Traditional owner Alice Ether says the potential for harm is just too high and traditional owners are not interested in the development plans.

"We stood strong saying to them, ''Look, we just want you to withdraw all your applications, all across the Arnhem coast. We don't want you to destroy our waters. Leave us alone, leave us in peace.”

And today, that perseverance paid off.

Paltar Gas has now agreed to travel to the top-end to meet with traditional owners for the first time since it submitted its request for exploration on the West Arnhem homelands.