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Origin's Beetaloo and Kimberley gas exit hailed by environmentalists

Giovanni Torre -

A group of Traditional Owners and environmentalists have hailed Origin Energy's withdrawal from the Beetaloo Basin and the Kimberley.

On Monday Origin announced its would divest from Beetaloo, about 500km south east of Darwin.

In a statement, Origin chief executive Frank Calabria said the decision would enable the company greater flexibility to allocate capital towards cleaner energy.

"We believe gas will continue to play an important role in the energy mix and it remains a core part of our business," he said.

"Ultimately, we believe Origin is better placed prioritising capital towards other opportunities that are aligned to our refreshed strategy."

Nurrdalinji Native Title Aboriginal Corporation, which represents a group of Traditional Owners opposed to fracking, said the withdrawal was welcome relief.

NNTAC chairman Johnny Wilson said he hoped more companies would follow suit.

"Whether it's Origin, Tamboran, Santos or any other company, Traditional Owners will continue our opposition to fracking which we worry will damage our country, water, sacred sites and songlines which are passed down for us to look after," he said.

"We will keep fighting because this is our country and we have a right to say what we want to happen on our country."

"The government should give up backing the industry with taxpayers' money and invest in health, education and clean energy from the sun because that's what will keep our future strong."

On the same day Origin announced it would withdraw from the Kimberley in WA's North West.

In January last year, Buru Energy and Origin announced a partnership for drilling exploration and possible fracking in the Canning Basin.

Broome-based conservation group Environs Kimberley described the divestment as a major win in a 10-year struggle to keep fracking and conventional gas production out of the world-famous region.

Environs Kimberley director Martin Pritchard said it was a vote of no confidence in the industry.

"When a $10 billion corporation like Origin pulls out it sends a powerful signal to the WA government," he said.

"This is the best opportunity Premier McGowan and his Ministers have had to put an end to the threat of fracking the Kimberley.

"They know it's an industry that would ruin the tourism and the world-famous natural and cultural landscapes of the internationally renowned region."

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