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Fracking opponents to rally outside Tamboran head office as pressure mounts on NT gas industry

David Prestipino -

Traditional Owners and environmentalists will rally outside the Sydney office of gas company Tamboran Resources on Tuesday morning in a final show of support to protect water reserves and prevent fracking in the Northern Territory.

Tamboran has announced plans to relocate its corporate office to Delaware in the United States – while still proceeding with plans to frack the Beetaloo Basin.

Community members in Darwin will concurrently rally outside the NT Supreme Court ahead of a crucial legal challenge against the Environment Minister's approval of Tamboran's exploration project.

Tamboran's mega fracker, imported from the United States can drill more than 4 kilometres, two to four times anything currently approved in Australia, impacting two to four times more water.

Alawa Traditional Owner from the Beetaloo Basin, Bradley Farrar, said water, land, cultural heritage and climate were all at risk from the company's project.

"As Traditional Owners, we've been saying no to fracking for a decade and I've travelled to Sydney to say: we're not going anywhere," he said on Monday.

Kulumbirigin Danggalaba Tiwi woman and Uprising of the People CEO, Mililma May, claimed Tamboran wanted to build a polluting gas plant to process and export fracked gas on her Country at Middle Arm on Darwin Harbour.

"We do not consent to Tamboran's activities. We're already feeling the impacts of burning fossil fuels and Tamboran's polluting gas plant would exacerbate extreme heatwaves, fires and floods - there will be nothing left if we don't speak up," she said.

The recent Pepper Inquiry made a series of recommendations to strengthen environmental protections regarding the NT gas industry.

While the NT government says it has implemented all of those recommendations, some Traditional Owners have disputed this claim.

GetUp CEO and Widjabul Wia-bal woman, Larissa Baldwin-Roberts, said they supported the stance of Traditional Owners on fracking and gas expansion in the NT.

"Tamboran shouldn't just move their corporate structure back to the United States, they should listen to Traditional Owners and abandon their fracking plans," she said.

Among the senate inquiry's 14 recommendations into oil and gas exploration in the Beetaloo Basin was for stronger regulations around carbon offsets and more consultation with traditional owners and pastoralists.

"In addition to these environmental concerns, there is a deeply human element to 'unlocking' gas reserves in the Beetaloo," the report's concluding comments said.

"While certain corporations and local interests, the wider Territory, and the nation as a whole might benefit economically from gas extraction, many local communities in and around the Beetaloo are bearing, and will continue to bear, the brunt of exploration and production activities.

"The committee believes it is incumbent on development proponents to clearly identify and articulate the benefits, and ensure they are shared more broadly across the region."

National Indigenous Times has contacted Tamboran for comment, however in June, managing director and CEO, Joel Riddle, in responding to the senate inquiry, expressed disappointment at its Committee Chair, the Greens' Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

"(She) only sought to leverage this inquiry against the local gas industry," he said.

"This is despite our efforts to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in the region, which is expected to lead to increasing job opportunities for Territorians and royalties for both the Northern Territory Government and Traditional Owners."

Traditional Owners deny Tamboran's claims they will benefit from the project, having travelled from the Northern Territory with members from various organisations including GetUp, 350.org, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and Lock the Gate to rally on Tuesday.

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