Australia: Traditional owners flag court action on fracking


By Andrew Thompson, ABC Indigenous News –

Date of publication: 
19 March 2014

Traditional owners from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory say they plan to initiate proceedings in the High Court of Australia to prevent fracking on their land and coast line.

Maningrida traditional owners have met with Environment Minister Greg Hunt to lobby for legally binding protection agreements of all coastal waters off Arnhem Land.

Eddie Mason says Mr Hunt expressed support for his people’s wishes.

Mr Mason says he plans to take court action promptly to ensure the area, about 500 kilometres east of Darwin, is protected.

“[Going to] the High Court, like Eddie Mabo did when he fought for his sea rights,” he said.

“I am going to to do the same thing now.

“I will initiate the proceedings and talk to my elders at Maningrida, all the different tribes.”

Maningrida traditional owners have been fighting Paltar Petroleum’s push for oil exploration off their coast for more than a year.

Mr Mason says he is happy with the initial outcome of the meeting with Mr Hunt.

“We talked about … a 20-year moratorium,” he said.

“He told us that we are on the land and that we, the traditional owners … should be making all the calls, making the decisions, not the government.”