Contributed by Ugly
We all knew there was something crook when Scott Morrison bragged about a gas led economic recovery last year. Export earnings were made a big deal of. But there has always been the stink of corruption in the relationship between government and the fossil fuel industry.
One example is the $50 million grant given to the Beetaloo cooperative drilling program. Money handouts to coal, oil, and gas companies are common. This time, there is a direct connection between the grant an association with the Liberal Party.
A corrupt association between the government and the Beetaloo project was shown, when Empire Energy given $21 million of this money. The chair of this company is Paul Espie, who happens to be chair of the Liberal Party connected and right-wing think tank the Menzies Research Centre, and he has a long involvement with the Liberal Party.
Empire Energy has been accused of playing a big role in helping partner companies to take advantage of tax havens to avoid paying tax.
The corruption bit comes in this way. An obvious conflict of interest should have immediately disqualified Empire Energy from receiving grants. This did not merely fail. The money was handed over in three lots, even before an environmental impact assessment was made the Northern Territory government.
Proper process was ignored. There is no way this can happen without some level of collusion. The parties knowingly and deliberately involved themselves in this, and it’s hard to believe that the government was unaware of it.
Details of this disgraceful behaviour were released last week at the Senate inquiry, and the Morrison government has chosen to ignore them.
The Beetaloo Basin project involves Hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as fracking, to extract gas by using high pressure liquid to fracture rock. This is dangerous and publicly unpopular. Contamination of the water table and soil are common.
To knowingly allow environmental destruction like this is another form of corrupt behaviour. Those responsible deserve to face criminal charges. They don’t have to worry though. The whole setup is run by a bunch of crooks.
Back at Beetaloo there is a community fighting hard to put a stop to this project. Farmers, traditional landholders, and townspeople are joined in a common cause. Australia is on their side.