Origin admits communication issues over Beetaloo Basin

Beetaloo Basin

Traditional owners in the Beetaloo Basin in the Northern Territory have claimed Origin Energy didn’t properly consult them when the company was seeking permission to drill for gas, the ABC reports.

The energy giant was met with protesters at its annual general meeting in Sydney where nearly eight per cent of shareholders voted for a review into how Origin obtained permissions for fracking in the region.

According to The Herald Sun, traditional land owners are worried about the damage Origin will to do the land and say many indigenous representatives were not consulted.

“We don’t want fracking to start in our area because we have seen the damage Origin and other companies have done elsewhere in Australia,” said May August, Alawa grandmother and representative from the proposed gas fields.

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“Our livelihood relies on lots of good country and clean fresh water, but all that is at risk if Origin forces fracking gas fields over the top of us.”

Origin chairman Gordon Cairns admitted the company needed to improve communication, stating “we haven’t done a good enough job with sitting down and explaining to you what we want to do”.

In a statement released by Origin, the company said it has “good relationships with our host Traditional Owners in the areas where our activity takes place in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.”

“We respect and have confidence in the processes of the Northern Land Council as the appropriate statutory body, for determining who are Native Title Holders and Claimants in our permit area.

“This includes determining which Traditional Owners attend meetings where Origin’s future activities are discussed, and that there are appropriate decision-makers for the different Traditional Owner groups at those meetings.”

Origin holds exploration permits to undertake a nine-well exploration project in the Northern Territory’s Betaloo Basin. The permit area covers 18,000 square kilometres.

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