Australian activists fighting multi-billion dollar natural gas industry

Climate and Capitalism

How a ragtag group of Australian activists is fighting the excesses of a multi-billion dollar natural gas industry

Ari Phillips
Climate Progress
Aug 2, 2013

“I wanted to compare what I’d seen in the U.S. to what is happening Down Under, and to hear what people engaging the industry on a daily basis had to say about it.”


“In Queensland, companies have already invested up to $65 billion in projects that will transport the gas to ports along the coast, through the Great Barrier Reef, and then to energy-hungry nations like China in the form of liquid natural gas. Just like in Texas, the arrival of gas companies at landowners’ doorsteps has catalyzed a resistance movement of unlikely bedfellows: environmentalists and conservative, property-owning farmers and ranchers. In Australia, landowners don’t own their mineral rights, the Commonwealth does, and the law states that owners must give reasonable access to their minerals in exchange for compensation for surface disturbance. This differs from the U.S. where landowners often receive royalties for the selling the minerals under their property.”


“Hutton and Pratzky both recently visited the U.S. to get a firsthand impression of the industry stateside. Josh Fox, activist and filmmaker who created the documentary Gasland, visited Tara and interviewed them for his newly released film Gasland Part II.

Hutton reflected on his time in Texas with shock. “There were wells right next to schools, next to apartment buildings, next to hospitals, even at the airport — it was unbelievable,” he said. “The problem with the anti-gas movement in the U.S. is that people think they’re going to become zillionaires, or Texas oil millionaires. It takes maybe a decade for them to find out that their land has been completely fucked.”



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