The lifting of a ban on fracking has prompted an immediate backlash against the NT government with hundreds of people protesting against the decision outside parliament.
Opponents accused the Gunner Labor government of selling out to “mining mates” and threatening the Territory’s “precious” water supply, especially in the central desert areas.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves the unconventional accessing of gas that cannot be recovered using conventional techniques and has led to an energy boom in the US.
But opponents say it is dangerous and the chemicals used contaminate water supplies.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner defended his decision, saying it only comes because the Justice Rachel Pepper-led independent scientific report found the risks of fracking could be acceptably reduced if 135 recommendations were implemented.
Protesters on Tuesday said the massive number of conditions required was proof fracking was not safe.
“The facts and science support us, the science says fracking cannot be done in a safe way in the Territory, 135 recommendations will not guarantee the safety of our water,” Lock the Gate Alliance NT’s Pauline Cass said.
Opponents also reject both the NT and federal government’s belief that the new mining industry would create a jobs boom along with valuable royalties for a flat economy, saying instead it would be specialist, FIFO jobs.
Mr Gunner, who was in WA’s Kimberley on Wednesday with Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan, insisted fracking would benefit the NT economy and the government would manage the risks without putting at risk jobs in existing industries or the environment.