Gas is getting harder and harder to find and extract, so companies like Origin Energy, have to drill deeper and use up more water and dangerous chemicals to draw out gas from deep in the ground. Fracking is a form of unconventional gas drilling, where companies use a mixture of water, chemicals and explosives to extract the gas. This has been known to contaminate aquifers, rivers and streams [2]. Fracking is banned in many other parts of the world, and yet right now, 51% of the NT is covered in exploration licenses for oil and gas.

Fracking for gas in the NT will affect us all - but it’s remote Aboriginal communities across the NT who will feel this first and worst. Water is life in the Northern Territory. In the centre, it’s hot and dry for much of the year, with most communities relying 100% on bore water. Further north, as the wet season gets shorter, bores and rivers and starting to run dry.

Yet each frack would require 50-60 million litres of water, according to Origin’s own submission to the NT Fracking Inquiry [3].

Aboriginal communities across the NT are concerned about the impacts fracking would have on our water, our health, our dreaming and songlines.



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  1. Air pollution from a wide range of hazardous pollutants from wells and infrastructure.

  2. Loss of large areas of farmland and bushland for well sites, pipelines and roads.

  3. Fugitive emissions from leaks in wells, pipes and infrastructure.

  4. Contamination of underground water due to well casing failure.

  5. Soil and water pollution from spills, leakage and overflow of toxic wastewater.

  6. Soil and groundwater contamination from reinjection of poorly treated or untreated wastewater.

  7. Pollution of waterways from wastewater and chemical spills and release of poorly treated wastewater.

  8. Gas and toxic substances flow into groundwater through natural faults and fractures.

  9. Water, soil and crop contamination from reuse of poorly treated or untreated wastewater on farmland.

  10. Noise and air pollution from trucks, drill rigs and machinery.





There’s not enough water in the NT to share with gas fracking companies.
Yet these companies would be given 50-60 million litres of water
per frack!

What’s more, the fracking companies plan to store poisoned wastewater in big ponds, which could easily flood during wet season, causing a toxic mix of chemicals to run into surrounding country and waterways, damaging it for generations.


Fully exploiting the NT’s shale gas resources would create carbon emissions sixty times Australia’s current annual total [4]. The NT will be the among the first and worst hit places in the world by climate
change, which will disproportionately hurt Indigenous people.
Life-threatening heatwaves are one
of the major impacts of climate change, with the number of days over 35 degrees in Darwin expected to rise from 11 per year to a whopping 308
by 2070 without global action to
cut emissions [5].


Fracking poses huge threats to cultural connections, songlines and sacred sites for Aboriginal communities in the region, both through its direct impacts on land and water, as well as the impacts of climate change on seasonal patterns, local species and ecosystems. Aboriginal people have cared for country since time immemorial - and our springs, plains and bushlands are too precious to risk with dangerous fracking wells.


There’s so much at stake, and it’s going to take a powerful movement of people all over the country working in
solidarity with Aboriginal communities to stop Origin Energy, or any other company, from fracking the NT.