Desert Channels fracking likely

Karen Monaghan in flooded Channel Country.

Graziers, conservationists, and Traditional Owners from the channels have expressed deep concerns after the Palaszczuk Government approved production for contentious shale oil fracking licenses.

Members of the Western Rivers Alliance, an informal organisation whose purpose is to lobby on behalf of the Lake Eyre Basin, are today calling on the Palaszczuk Government to honour their repeated election commitment to protect the Lake Eyre Basin’s pristine rivers and wetlands from destructive activities such as oil and gas mining.

This current incantation is in response to the news that the Palaszczuk Government has granted production approval to Origin Energy to frack for shale oil across 200,000 hectares of the Lake Eyre Basin.

Riley Rocco, Western Rivers Alliance spokesperson said it was deeply concerning news.

“This government has repeatedly committed to consulting with the Traditional Owners and other stakeholders to ensure this world-renowned river and wetland system is protected,” he said.

“We’ve been waiting nearly seven years for the promised consultation – which began on Tuesday this week with the first meeting of the Stakeholder Advisory Group.”

Mr Rocco said the consultation process had been undermined when the Palaszczuk Government had already approved the application prior.

“The Lake Eyre Basin rivers and wetlands are rich in wildlife and cultural heritage,” he said.

“The Channel Country’s profitable organic beef industry relies on the floodplains being naturally irrigated from unhindered clean water flows.

“To allow new oil and gas mining here is to put the local community and wildlife at risk.”

Karen Monaghan is a Wangkangurru Yarluyandi Traditional Owner and member of Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owners Alliance.

She grew up in the Channel Country and continues to live in the region.

“The Channel Country is my mother’s Country,” she said.

“I grew up swimming in these rivers and I don’t want them fracked for oil or gas, dried out or dammed.

“The Palaszczuk Government promised Lake Eyre Basin Traditional Owners that we would have an ‘active role’ in making decisions for our country.

“I am incredibly disappointed to learn that these applications have been approved without consulting Traditional Owners or other stakeholders.”