Creating Energy Security through Rigorous Accountability

NT Government

3 May 2023

As we move to a net-zero world, the Territory Labor Government’s number one priority is creating opportunities for Territorians.

Today, the Territory Government has released the Final Implementation Report into the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing.

In 2018, the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing, chaired by Justice Rachel Pepper, independently concluded in its final report that industry risks could be managed if all of the Inquiry’s 135 recommendations were implemented.

Over the past four years, the Territory Government has been working to implement those recommendations by undertaking comprehensive baseline studies and developing multiple assurances for the regulation and monitoring of an onshore gas industry, which includes:

Ensuring all Environmental Management Plans for on-shore gas extraction must be available for public comment, demonstrate compliance with a new mandatory Code of Practice and require approval from the Minister for Environment;Strict new requirements that must be met before exploration and production approvals are granted, including new mandatory requirements relating to well integrity and well decommissioning, sacred site clearances to be granted and comprehensive on site water monitoring programs to be in place;Prohibitions on surface water extraction and waste reinjection, the development of wastewater management frameworks, and the requirement for gas companies to obtain a groundwater licence, backed by comprehensive new compliance and enforcement provisions;Strict requirements that must be met before production can take place including the development of robust and transparent monitoring programs, discussions with industry and pastoralists regarding land access requirements and compensation, and release of all environmental management plans for public comment;Broad new powers to sanction non-compliance, civil enforcement proceedings and increased criminal penalties for environmental harm;All activity proactively made public on the Petroleum Onshore Information NT website –, as well as all environmental data and approvals made public at here.

A major part of the Government’s response has been the Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessment (SREBA), which is the most comprehensive series of regional scientific studies ever conducted in the Northern Territory.

Implementation of the 135 recommendations has been overseen by Dr David Ritchie, who was a member of the original Inquiry panel. As Independent Officer, operating at arm’s length from government, Dr Ritchie has provided regular published reports on how Government is progressing with this work.

Dr Ritchie’s remit has been to provide advice to government that ensures an onshore industry will be operating to world’s best practice and, accordingly, we will deliver tough and uncompromising new measures that will create a sustainable environment.

/Public Release. View in full here.