Last night’s ABC 7.30 report into alleged pollution incidents in the Beetaloo highlights the importance of full compliance with the Pepper Inquiry, including a range of recommendations about the management of wastewater to reduce the risk of contamination or spills. [1]  

The report comes just weeks after the Northern Territory Government gave the green light to a full fracking industry in the Beetaloo Basin, promising the recommendations of the Pepper Inquiry into fracking had been fully implemented.  

However, in fact, the Pepper Inquiry recommendations are far from complete, leaving the people, animals and environment of the Northern Territory at huge risk from fracking.  

The Environmental Defenders Office is advocating for a halt on approvals until the Pepper recommendations are implemented in full, without exception. [2]   

Some of these recommendations, including recommendation 7.12 requiring enclosed tanks to hold all wastewater and retaining walls around well pads, have not been fully or properly implemented.  

“The alleged incidents reported by 7.30 all relate to a single exploration well,” said EDO Special Counsel Alina Leikin.  

“If the Northern Territory Government can’t be trusted to get the settings right now to ensure protection of the environment, how can it be trusted when there could be hundreds or thousands of wells across vast areas of the Northern Territory? 

“It’s time to put an immediate pause on all further approvals until every single Pepper recommendation is implemented in reality and not just according to the rhetoric of the Northern Territory Government.” 


[1] ABC 730, 22 May 2023, from 25min 45 secs. 

[2] NT Government failing ‘spectacularly’ on Pepper Review recommendations, EDO, 3-5-23  

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