Australian Economy

What do Labor’s climate policies mean for the gas-led recovery and the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin?

What happens when a gas-led recovery collides with a climate election?

We’re about to find out.

From Narrabri in New South Wales to outback Queensland and the Northern Territory, the former government said the opening up of massive new gas basins was going to power the Australian economy out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fast forward a few months and Greens leader Adam Bandt is suddenly talking about his party’s potential power to demand an end to those plans.

So what will happen under a federal Labor government promising stronger action on climate change?

We take a closer look at where Scott Morrison’s gas-fired recovery was supposed to start, in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.

Where are things at with fracking in the Beetaloo Basin?

Things are approaching a tipping point in the Beetaloo, which sits 500 kilometres south-east of Darwin.

Stretching across an area more than twice the size of Tasmania, the basin contains enough shale gas to power Australia for an estimated 200 years. 

In the coming months, gas companies including Origin Energy, Santos and several smaller players will ramp up the exploratory fracking that began after the Territory Labor government lifted its moratorium on fracking.

A photo of a gas exploration project. The image is taken by a drone and shows a busy mine.
Gas companies are pushing full steam ahead with exploration works.(Supplied: Tamboran Resources Limited)

Some of it is financed by millions of dollars in grants awarded by the former federal government last year, which also promised hundreds of millions for enabling infrastructure before the election.

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