No 99 year leases - No oil and gas exploration say Arnhem Land clans

Eddie Mason has come to Darwin to tell the Territory Government he doesn't want oil and gas exploration off the Arnhem Land coas
Image source: Justin Sanson, NT News

David Wood NT News 19 November 2013

Eddie Mason has come to town to tell the Territory Government he doesn't want oil and gas exploration off the Arnhem Land coast - and he doesn't want 99-year leases on his land.

The Maningrida resident and Bulachani clan law man said he had been given permission to speak on behalf of the 25 clans of the Amburra Nation and Japana Nation.

And he said the Government would not come and see him. He has hand-delivered a letter to a representative of Chief Minister Adam Giles at the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly.

Mines and Energy Minister Willem Westra van Holthe said he had met with Mr Mason earlier in the year and said he would meet him and other traditional owners in Maningrida.

"I was disappointed that Mr Mason didn't make prior arrangements for a meeting ... while we were both in Darwin," he said.

Mr Westra van Holthe said he was considering a date to discuss the exploration.

Mr Mason said his father's country was further to the east at Milingimbi and included the six other islands of the Crocodile Islands.

Paltar Petroleum has applied for more than 30 exploration permits across the eastern coastal area of the Top End and down the Gulf of Carpentaria towards Borroloola.

"Arnhem Land is the last area of Australia that has not been ruined," he wrote.

"We want to keep it like that so we can still practice our law and culture and ceremonies that's been handed down to us so we can share it with the rest of the world."

His relative Jeannie Gadambua who is also from Maningrida said she also did not want to see the "unconventional" exploration which requires fracking to free the trapped oil and gas.

She believed it could threaten sacred sites and seafood sources.