In 2016 an Independent Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing of Onshore Unconventional Reservoirs in the Northern Territory commenced.
The Inquiry sought to investigate the environmental, social and economic risks and impacts of hydraulic fracturing of onshore unconventional gas reservoirs and associated activities in the Northern Territory, commissioned under the Inquires Act.
Chaired by the Honourable Justice Rachel Pepper, the independent Inquiry handed down its Final Report to the Northern Territory Government in March 2018.
Government's response to the Independent Scientific Inquiry Final Report
The Territory Government determined that hydraulic fracturing of onshore unconventional shale gas reservoirs may proceed under very strict conditions and in tightly prescribed areas.
After careful consideration of the Final Report, including the nature and extent of identified risks and the 135 recommendations, the Territory Government supports, or supports in-principle, all recommendations and released the plan to implement the recommendations in July 2018.
The focus of the Implementation Plan actions is to:
- strengthen regulation
- ensure industry is accountable for its practices
- safeguard water and the environment
- respect community and culture
- maximise the benefits and opportunities available to local businesses and communities
- ensure planning for future.
Protection of our natural environment is paramount
The Final Report emphasises that a robust and trusted regulatory framework is the principal way by which the Territory Government can ensure any onshore unconventional shale gas industry can develop in a manner which protects the environment and meets community expectations.
The Territory Government is committed to building a productive onshore gas industry that protects our unique environment and delivers local jobs.