• Protesters and Traditional Owners from the Northern Territory hold a small rally outside the Origin Energy AGM last year. (AAP)Source: AAP
Traditional Owners express concern after gas giant Origin Energy and its joint venture partner announce plans to start drilling the Beetaloo Sub-basin 'immediately'.
Douglas Smith

26 Nov 2019 - 6:08 PM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2019 - 6:12 PM

Australian gas giant Origin Energy today announced it will fast track plans to "immediately" start drilling for gas on Jingili Country in the Beetaloo Sub-basin. 

Along with its joint venture partner, Falcon Oil & Gas, the two companies announced last week they had already completed drilling at a vertical depth of 1,895 metres, 600km southeast of Darwin, between Daly Waters and Elliot.  

CEO of Falcon Oil & Gas, Phillip O’Quigley said the preliminary results of recent test drilling in the area was an “excellent” re-start to the Beetaloo drilling program, but Traditional Owners have said they are now "concerned about what will happen to the land".

Native Title holder, Daren Farrell, said his people wanted Origin to "leave the land how it is".

"Water is sacred - the most important thing is water and our land - we need it not just for us but also for the future," said Mr Farrell in a statement.

"We don't trust Origin at all, they don't know our land. We seen what they did in Queensland and overseas, fracking and destroying land and water for communities, it needs to be banned," he said.

Another concern for Traditional Owners is the timing of the announcement, as drilling in the wet-season risks contaminating vital drinking water. 

GetUp’s First Nations Campaign Director, Larissa Baldwin, described the decision to frack during the wet season as "environmentally irresponsible" and "downright dangerous". 

"It will put NT communities’ access to drinking water at risk," said Ms Baldwin in a statement, "it will threaten their health and destroy their country. 

“This announcement shows Origin wants to steamroll remote Aboriginal communities living under the shadow of their fracking permits. 

"These communities will be inundated by fracking operations whether they like it or not.  

“The fact is Origin does not have proper informed consent from Native Titleholders and are accelerating their already dangerous plans at a volatile time," she said.


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