Darwin Parents Urge Government to Withdraw Gas Support in Canberra

07 AUG 2023

Australian Parents for Climate Action

A delegation of Northern Territory parents has arrived in Canberra to call on the federal government to withdraw its support for expanding the NT’s gas industry, particularly fracking in the Beetaloo Basin and the associated processing plant at Middle Arm.

Senator Malarndirri McCarthy will host the members of Australian Parents for Climate Action (AP4CA) as they meet with federal government ministers to present an open letter and a book of photos, childrens’ drawings and messages from Territorians concerned about the impact of fracking and large industrial projects in the NT.

Mother of one Alice Nagy, of Rapid Creek, said she felt compelled to make the trip to speak up on behalf of the children of the Northern Territory, and to demonstrate that the gas industry does not have universal support in her community.

“Our children are the most vulnerable section of our society, and politicians at all levels of government need to put them at the heart of all their decision making,” Ms Nagy said.

“As parents we want to have confidence that our elected decision makers are listening to expert advice and scientific consensus when they make any decisions, but especially when it comes to approving fossil fuel projects and large industrial developments such as those we are faced with in the NT”

Kat McNamara, of Coconut Grove, is pregnant with her third child and she was worried about how safe it would be for her children to live in the NT throughout their lives.

“I want my children to have a long, safe, healthy future in the NT but with the future heat projections I am worried they will not,” Ms McNamara said.

“These extreme temperature increases are directly linked to fossil fuel developments. I want my representatives to listen to the experts when they say we cannot afford to risk our health and our climate with these dangerous fossil fuel projects.”

They will also join paediatricians at a rally at Parliament House at 8am, Tuesday, August 8.

“We know there are well resourced paid industry lobbyists who regularly seek the ear of our MPs and so while we would much rather be spending time with our families we have left them at home to travel to Canberra to have our voices heard,” Ms Nagy said. “Politicians should never underestimate the dedication and determination of parents seeking a safe world for our kids. We are here to ask for a livable future for NT kids.”

In its meetings, AP4CA is calling for federal ministers to:

  • Ensure the $1.5 billion allocated for Middle Arm does not go towards supporting fossil fuel projects and is instead redirected to industries and sectors that are genuinely sustainable and will not cause harm to families in the Northern Territory.
  • Support the Beetaloo Senate inquiry recommendations as previously committed to, especially:
    • a senate inquiry into Middle Arm;
    • amend the Environmental Protect Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act to extend the federal water trigger to include unconventional gas by the end of this year; and
    • ensure that the Australian Government collaborates with the First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance to develop a requirement as part of the cultural heritage protection reforms for gas companies to provide a comprehensive cultural impact assessment for proposed gas production activities.
  • Delay the release of the Environmental Impact Statement for Middle Arm until a comprehensive health impact assessment has been completed and meaningful consultation with Larrakia has taken place.
  • Include a climate trigger in the EPBC Act reforms as soon as possible to enable consideration of the contribution of large emitting projects in fueling climate change and driving ecosystem collapse.
  • Support the private members bill that seeks to enshrine duty of care for children in legislation, as this is an important mechanism to ensure intergenerational justice.