The potential risks associated with hydraulic fracturing for onshore shale gas in the NT were identified in the Issues Paper as ‘issues’, which were categorised into nine themes for ease of reference.

A total of 1257 submissions have been received by the Inquiry (of which 582 are pro forma letters that do not materially differ in substance from each other). This is in addition to the information obtained at the hearings and community forums, and the feedback contained in more than 221 ‘Have Your Say’ forms.

The risks set out in detail in the Issues Paper have been discussed during extensive consultations in urban centres and rural and remote communities across the NT. As a result of these discussions, additional issues were identified, which have been taken into account by the Panel. A final list of issues compiled pursuant to this process is attached at Appendix 2. The new risks raised by the public during the course of the consultations are identified in italics.

Based on the available evidence, the Panel has now assessed these risks and determined whether or not they are material, and where it has been found that they are, the extent to which, if any, they can be mitigated to an acceptable level by appropriate recommended safeguards (the Panel’s methodology is set out in Chapter 4). The Panel has made a number of recommendations (see Chapter 16) to the Government to assist it in the effective establishment and maintenance of those safeguards.

Ultimately, it is a matter for the government, not the Inquiry, upon receipt of this report, to determine whether or not the current moratorium should be lifted. The Terms of Reference do not permit such a recommendation to be made by the Inquiry.

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