8 March 2017
A major gas pipeline project between the Northern Territory and Queensland has been delayed because of a bitter dispute between traditional owners and Indigenous land councils.
The $800 million Jemena Northern Gas Pipeline project aims to lay 620 kilometres of pipe from Tennant Creek to Mount Isa to bring gas to the east coast.
Jemena announced last Friday it was delaying the project because it did not yet have agreement to access traditional owners' land.
That was after the Northern and Central Land Councils told the company traditional owners from the Warumungu and Wakaya Land Trusts near Tennant Creek had given their consent, so land clearing could start.
Warumungu traditional owner Diane Stokes said she was very angry with both land councils.
"We don't want them to sign on behalf of us. If they're going to push it without us, that's not right," she said.
"That makes me feel like it's a sneaky job. We're the traditional owners. We're the ones who are considering giving our land for that pipeline."
She said traditional owners were not made aware that the pipeline could contain fracked gas if the NT Government lifted its moratorium on fracking.
"The main concern that we have is about fracking," Ms Stokes said.
"We don't want any fracking anywhere to get gas to go through that pipeline that's going through our country."