Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Second NT pastoralist fights gas fracker

The NT Supreme Court is hearing another cattle station owner’s appeal against a decision giving a gas explorer access to its Beetaloo Basin property.

June 22, 2022

Another pastoralist is attempting to overturn a court order granting a gas fracking company access to a Northern Territory cattle station.

Tamboran Resources subsidiary Sweetpea Petroleum previously won the legal right to explore parts of Yarabala Pty Ltd’s Beetaloo station in the gas-rich Beetaloo Basin, about 500km southeast of Darwin.

But lawyers for Yarabala are appealing the NT Civil and Administrative Tribunal decision in the Supreme Court in Darwin on Wednesday before the tribunal determines an access agreement for the parties.

It comes two days after Rallen Australia’s appeal against the tribunal’s decision to grant Sweatpea access to neighbouring Tanumbirini station was heard in the same court on a multitude of grounds, including concerns about water infrastructure.

Tamboran has an agreement with the Northern Land Council, the native title holders of the area and a permit for exploration work on parts of Tanumbirini and Beetaloo stations.

The company has previously said it will continue to defend its legal right to work on the station that it’s had a permit to explore for more than a decade.

The Beetaloo Basin is one of a number of gas fields the previous Morrison government planned to develop to help boost the economy and secure Australia’s energy supply.

It caused concern among many in the territory, who fear it could jeopardise efforts to meet the nation’s emissions reduction target and contaminate groundwater in a series of linked aquifers.

About 90 per cent of the NT’s water supply comes from groundwater.

The appeals are a test case for the NT’s amended petroleum regulations which require parties to reach a land access agreement before operations start in a bid to balance their often competing interests.

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