In comments regarding the inquiry and the Territory’s approach to gas exploration, Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox said today:
“Industrial and community gas users through Australia would welcome any moves by the NT Government to increase domestic gas supply security and help put a lid on future gas prices.
“If the NT Government made the sensible decision to lift the ban on fracking and replace it with a robust, scientifically based regulatory framework there is no doubt that there would be immediate and long-term benefits to the Northern Territory economy and to the broader community. That includes not just exports to Eastern Australia and the wider world, and investment in construction of pipelines and other infrastructure, but the potential to grow downstream industries that turn gas into even more valuable products.
“Ai Group’s own research has identified that each petajoule of gas used by domestic Australian industry produces $255 million in economic output across the broader economy. These benefits include higher employment and incomes with associated rises in living standards.
“A shale gas industry can create long-term jobs, not just cyclical jobs that occur during the construction phase of major projects. At a time when the NT economy is facing challenges it makes no sense to continue to prevent the potential boost to the economy from this new source of revenue.
“The community has had sincere concerns about the environmental impacts of fracking. But work for the Inquiry has found that even a large gas development would impact a tiny 0.03% of the Northern Territory’s land mass, and the Inquiry has proposed a range of rules and protections to mitigate risks. The shale gas industry and its supply chain is expected to generate net benefits for other sectors. Ai Group hopes that a positive decision and workable framework in the NT would send a signal to Victoria and NSW to follow suit and end their effective freeze on gas development.
“The substantial resources of shale gas in the NT constitute an enormous opportunity for local and national economic development and security. This opportunity can and should be pursued responsibly,” Mr Willox said.
Tony Melville – 0419 190 347