• The area near the Fitzroy Basin where Bennett Resources has proposed 20 wells. (Supplied: Environs Kimberley)Source: Supplied: Environs Kimberley
A US-owned resources company has put in an application to frack on the Fitzroy River in Western Australia's Kimberley Region.
By
Keira Jenkins

Source:
NITV News
28 Jan 2021 - 3:54 PM  UPDATED 28 Jan 2021 - 3:54 PM

Environmental groups and Traditional Owners in Western Australia's Kimberley region are calling for an application to frack on the Fitzroy River to be rejected.

Bennett Resources lodged an application with the WA Environmental Protection Authority last week to drill 20 wells in the catchment of the Fitzroy River, 50 kilometres west of Fitzroy Crossing.

Yawaru man Micklo Corpus said he has seen the impact fracking has caused on his own Country, at Yulleroo, 60 kilometres from Broome and doesn't want to see it occur elsewhere in the Kimberley.

"It impacts on our Country, we have vulnerable, endangered animals on our country," he told NITV News.

"The Kimberley is a beautiful place. People come from all over to see our Country. It's untouched. We'd be fools to start touching it now."

Mr Corpus said not only has his lands been impacted, but he can no longer access areas where Buru Energy's wells are built.

"It's sad that I can't look after my own Country," he said.

"I inherited that responsibility to look after Country from my ancestors.

"If we can't look after it, the animals disappear, our medicine trees disappear."

'Thin end of the wedge'

Frack Free Kimberley coordinator for Environs Kimberley, Shaun Clark, said 20 wells may not seem like a lot, but he is concerned the industry could grow once Bennett has approval for the project.

"We see this as the thin end of the wedge," he said.

"If they get a foothold they could put thousands of wells across the basin."

Mr Clark said while public submissions to the EPA have now closed, there could be another chance for the public to have a say on the project.

He said everyone should be concerned if this project is approved - not just for the environment, but for the health of future generations.

"This is a huge public issue," Mr Clark said.

"It's a threat to the land, the water, which may not affect us, but will be a huge issue for future generations - for our children."

Mr Corpus said he hopes the government and the resources companies begin to listen to the voices of Aboriginal people, and make sure First Nations people are at the decision-making table.

"What the government has to understand is we have aspirations as Aboriginal people for our Country," he said.

"We understand that there's lots of resources on our Country. But what needs to be understood is that it is our responsibility - and our right - to look after our Country.

"They're not thinking about Aboriginal people.

"I don't want to say we don't trust them [the companies], but we don't have confidence in them. These companies aren't considerate of our people."

Traditional Owner fronts court for anti-fracking protest
Anti-fracking protesters plead not guilty to criminal damages, with one Traditional Owner saying he was motivated by fear that local Indigenous voices were being silenced by the government.