Drilling Program Brings Potential Health And Social Issues

Policies and decisions that promote program systematic dispossession, overincarceration. And poverty have repeatedly caused harm to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Janine Mohamad, Zoe Staines, and their colleagues highlighted the wide range of cultural determinants. That affect health and were not addressed in the government’s Closing the Gap program. They gave examples of how government policies can continue to cause damage that must be repaired later.

Many Traditional Owners in Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Region see the Beetaloo cooperative. Drilling programme this way as more harm to their Country, water, and people.

The Beetaloo is the first of five major developments in five gas basins that were part of the A$6 billion. Plan by the prime minister for a gas led recovery from the economic impact of COVID. A Senate inquiry is currently examining the plan. It would greatly expand unconventional oil production through hydraulic fracturing (fracking), thereby increasing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change has already caused harm worldwide and this has been strongly criticised. By Australian energy professionals, doctors, and other international bodies.

The Senate inquiry’s outcome will have a significant impact on the development of gas mining in basins in Aboriginal Lands, affecting communities and homelands.

The Commonwealth government cannot wait to “unlock the Beetaloo” – pledging A$50million in fracking grants to the NT, which includes A$21 million taxpayers’ money for Empire Energy to accelerate exploration.

There are serious health risks associated with the opening of remote Northern Territory areas to the oil-and-gas industry. These include the often ignored links with the sexual and physical violence suffered by Indigenous children and women in North America.

Unconventional Gas Mining Poses A Health Risk Program

The authors, along with David Shearman, have been translating research into government decision-makers and community groups for more than ten years.

Our research was extensively communicated to the NT government via [multiple written submissions], oral presentations and letters as well as to the NT chapter of Royal Australian College of Physicians.

This meticulous documentation shows the rapidly increasing evidence of environmental, climate and well-being losses that gas mining has caused to many people.

Our latest submission to the Beetaloo Senate inquiry included international evidence of serious harms to health, including:

  • heart failure
  • heart attacks
  • Asthma
  • severe birth defects
  • Psycho-social and mental health problems.

These messages were not receive in the NT fracking inquiry and subsequent Strategic Regional Environmental and Baseline Assessments (SREBA).

Remote Aboriginal Territorians already have much greater health burdens due to these conditions. Therefore, the Beetaloo area would suffer even greater health losses if it was expose to gas mining hazards.

These dangers include inhaled ozone, tiny particles in the air, and many chemicals that can disrupt people’s endocrine system in water and air.

The industry’s direct impact on physical health is not the only one. It also has a huge environmental and social injustice footprint.

Once shale gas mining operations are allow to continue, the scale and intensity of them is often not anticipate. Remote areas become rapidly industrialized with roads, well pads and pipelines.

Experts are divide on the cost, capacity and commitment require to ensure regulatory compliance over decades of mining expansion, production, and decommissioning.

Risques For Vulnerable Communities Program

Unfortunately, there is not much research about the impact of shale gas mining specifically on Indigenous people. Affected Indigenous communities have had the opportunity to voice their concerns and share their experiences.

A coalition of Native American and female organizations requested that the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples intervene in 2015 to protect against the “epidemic of sexual violence caused by extreme fossil fuel extractive in the Great Lakes, Great Plains region” of North America.

They spoke of vast “man camps” that were temporary labor and became “lawless hubs for violence and human trafficking.”

2019 Canadian National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls interviewed Melina Laboucan Massimo, Lubicon Cree First Nation.

Canada’s industrial system for resource extraction is based on systems of power, and domination. This system is based upon the pillaging and rape of Mother Earth, as well as violence against females.

The Beetaloo Basin Project Is A Frequent Topic Of Inquiry

We respond by highlighting the complex combination of circumstances that accompany oil and gas development, which increases vulnerability to any community. We urge you to recognize the unique, compounding issues faced by those who live in Beetaloo. These are:

  • Historical genocide, violence, and transgenerational trauma
  • The geographical extent of the gas mining potential in remote areas and areas that are under-serve is staggering
  • The characteristics of this job and the large influx of workers
  • The socioeconomic disparities among First Nations peoples and the lack of voice
  • Protection and duty of care for Aboriginal victims of crime by police
  • The criminal justice system and its own.

These facilities will built and maintain by construction and drilling workers, most of whom are male fly-in and fly-out contractors. These workers often work in dangerous, stressful and high-paying jobs that can be difficult or even deadly.

Recent reports about alleged sexual violence against female miners in Western Australia program raise concerns for the safety of children and women in remote areas.

We have not been able to see any assurances that the concerns raised here will taken seriously. Hope that this Senate committee is paying attention to the amazing Aboriginal people living in remote Beetaloo communities who are speaking out.

We must respect their call to protect their country and communities, and take steps to address the damage that could result if we don’t. History has shown that reparations, no matter how important they may be, do not heal deep wounds.