Indigenous representatives in northern Australia today sent a strong message to anti-gas activists: trying to pressure communities will not work and is potentially damaging to those communities.
In a clear message about emotive posturing, the NT-based groups Central Land Council (CLC) and Northern Land Council (NLC) made clear they do not appreciate being pressured by “people pushing a particular view”.
And in a separate development, long time national Aboriginal rights proponent, Warren Mundine wrote in a northern Queensland newspaper that it was time for activists to “listen to the scientists”.
Mr Mundine is Chairman and Managing Director of Nyungga Black Group. In yesterday’s Townsville Bulletin Newspaper (19 October, page 6), he says activists “ignore scientists on gas extraction, making exaggerated and false claims about fracking or ‘unconventional’ gas”.
Instead, “they should listen to scientists”, he wrote.
“Australia’s Chief Scientist, Alan Finkel, said: “There is a lot of evidence that fracking is safe … the evidence is not there that it’s dangerous. In fact, the evidence is that, if properly regulated, it’s completely safe.” The Green-left says Australia must reduce emissions to avoid the consequences of climate change. Listen to scientists and you’d know we’ll face those anyway.”
The NT comments follow the closure of the period for submissions to the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the NT. They were reported in the Darwin-based NT News (19 October, page 9), under the headline ‘Land councils warning off third parties’.
NLC chief executive Joe Morrison is quoted saying:
“A combination of emotive topics largely driven by radical ideologists are increasingly playing a role that interferes with Traditional Owner consent processes.
“When lobby groups place their largely southern-centric views on Traditional Owners, typically using English, this leads to confusion, stress and arguments within the group’s decision-making process. This does more damage to Traditional Owner communities than those third parties realise.”
CLC Director David Ross echoed the remarks regarding the added difficulty in understanding of language, adding that this was true regardless of the viewpoint being put to TOs.
“It is more annoying that some of the people are pushing a particular point of view – whether it is a gas company or an anti-fracker,” Mr Ross said.
An editorial comment in the NT News yesterday was also critical of a “frustrating” and “annoying” amount of “information” on the topic of hydraulic fracturing.
“We are frustrated at the level of its hysteria. We are frustrated by the level of its accuracy.”
“Some of the claims being made by the anti-fracking movement are deliberately misleading and outright hysterical.”
In his article, Mr Mundine made the link between electricity generation and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Australia’s emissions are 1.3 per cent of global totals. Mr Finkel has testified the impact of our emissions on climate is ‘virtually nothing’.
So Australia’s approach is spend billions; move to more expensive, less reliable electricity; and suffer climate change anyway.
It’s madness. We should listen to the scientists, embrace nuclear power and gas extraction and ignore Green-left science deniers.”