• Gudanji, Yanyuwa, Garrwa, Jingili, Mudburra and Alawa Traditional Owners with Senator Patrick Dodson, GetUp and Seed Mob staff in Canberra last week. (GetUp! (Twitter))Source: GetUp! (Twitter)
First Nations anti-fracking campaigners say the result is a 'massive victory' in the fight to protect the sacred Country from further gas exploration.
Douglas Smith

24 Jun 2021 - 12:46 PM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2021 - 7:22 PM

A parliamentary inquiry into the fracking of the Beetaloo Basin has been welcomed by Traditional Owners after a Senate vote in federal parliament on Tuesday.

The Gudanji, Yanyuwa, Garrwa, Jingili, Mudburra and Alawa nations have been fighting against the fracking expansion since the Morrison Government announced it earlier this year.

Tuesday's motion was in response to a 35,000 plus signatory open letter to parliament by political activist group Get Up! and Traditional Owners, that vowed to put an end to the plans which will "denigrate and desecrate our lands."

“We won't allow fracking gas fields on our country. Not now. Not ever. This is our land, and we're ready to do whatever it takes to protect country,” it read.

First Nations Justice Campaign Director of GetUp, Larissa Baldwin said the inquiry was a “massive victory”.

"Ever since the Morrison Government announced its $50 million handout to help the gas industry pillage the Beetaloo Basin, Traditional Owners have united to fight against it,” she told NITV News.

“They received support from tens of thousands of people across Australia, and have catapulted this issue into the national spotlight.

"Last week, Traditional Owners travelled halfway across the country to Canberra, where they met with Senators and Members of Parliament and urged them to listen to the concerns of First Nations communities.

Mr Baldwin said the vote for the inquiry proved that the Traditional Owners' words had an impact. 

"Now the Morrison Government — and the entire country — will hear from the people who this fracking will affect most: the Traditional Owners and their communities," she said.

"The fight is on."

Origin Resumes Exploration

On the same day the motion was moved, Origin Energy confirmed that they had resumed exploration activity in the Basin's Kyalla well site near Daly Waters.

In a statement, Origin General Manager for Beetaloo and Growth Assets Chris White said, “Analysis of the initial Kyalla results showed valuable liquids-rich gas is present.

“The composition of the gas – 65 per cent methane, 19 per cent ethane, 11 per cent propane and butane, and 3 per cent condensates, combined with low CO2 levels of less than a per cent – is very promising and indicates the gas is likely to be useful for several different purposes," he said.

“Our focus now is to flow the well and commence extended production testing to understand the deliverability of the well."

The company also said they are preparing to drill a new well into a shale formation called the Velkerri later this year and they plan to complete testing at the Amungee NW 1H well.

Traditional Owners say Origin has silenced them on fracking in the NT
Native Title holders for the area surrounding Origin Energy’s Beetaloo Exploration Project say they're "angry and upset" following Origin's AGM, where they felt their voices weren't heard.