On 23 June 2021, the Senate referred to the Environment and Communications References Committee an inquiry into oil and gas exploration and production in the Beetaloo Basin.

The committee received a large number of submissions, of which 62 are listed at Appendix 1 and available on the committee's website.4 The committee also received in excess of 1400 campaign submissions from individuals expressing their views on shale gas production in the Beetaloo, and the manner in which that industry is being advanced in the Northern Territory (NT).

This report comprises five chapters:

  • Chapter 1 provides an introduction and context to the inquiry;
  • Chapter 2 examines the Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program (BCD Program) and the Industry Research and Development (Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program) Instrument 2021 (the Instrument);
  • Chapter 3 discusses the economic rationale for developing the shale gas industry in the Beetaloo;
  • Chapter 4 outlines First Nations people's views of fracking in the Beetaloo; and
  • Chapter 5 examines issues raised in relation to potential environmental impacts.

The committee acknowledges that this interim report has not addressed all the matters relevant to the inquiry, but notes that with a final report due in March 2022, the committee will be able to examine a range of matters beyond the scope of this report.


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