Industry body criticises NT fracking delays

A three-month delay to a fracking inquiry in the Northern Territory has attracted criticism from the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA).

The potential of fracking in the Northern Territory has been estimated to be worth nearly $6 billion over the next three decades, according to an economic assessment released in early October by ACIL Allen, Australia’s largest independent economic consultancy.

The firm stated that fracking jobs in NT could peak in 2027 at around 1100 jobs before dropping to 600 the year after. The estimate also stated (with caveats) that fracking projects could generate anywhere from $36 million a year on the small end of the scale to $222 million a year on the large end for the NT.

The state has had a moratorium in place on the practice since September 2016 however, pending the result of social impact assessments via independent assessors.

Matt Doman, APPEA director for the Northern Territory, said that the delay represented a lost opportunity for local businesses and traditional owners and was “damaging to the NT’s economic interests”.

“What was supposed to be a 12-month inquiry is now entering its second year.” said Doman. “We won’t see [the report] until at least March [2018]. Even if the fracking moratorium is lifted after that, it is very hard to see any significant investment occurring in 2018.

“Numerous other inquiries here in Australia and overseas have reached the same conclusion — fracking is safe when properly regulated.”

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