Claims that Traditional Owners were either ignored or disconnected from Origin’s Annual General Meeting held today, Wednesday 20 October 2021, are completely false.
As always, Origin welcomed a healthy discussion during the meeting, answering around 50 questions across a wide range of topics. This included questions from Traditional Owners, who the Chairman responded to respectfully.
Most of the discussion during the meeting was driven by activists and opposition to Origin’s exploration activity in the Northern Territory’s Beetaloo Basin.
We encourage and welcome a healthy debate around our project and the role of gas in meeting society’s energy needs, however there is a level of misinformation that continues to be deliberately spread.
The science clearly supports the safety of gas exploration, including fracking, with any risks to land or water able to be managed, or in some cases, removed completely. We continue to encourage people to look at the facts.
We acknowledge and respect the connection all First Nations people have to their country.
In the Beetaloo, Origin engages closely with, and has the support of, the Native Title holders who are the legal and traditional decision makers for where we are undertaking exploration. We respect the Native Title determinations made by the Federal Court on who the Native Title holders are, and who Native Title holders across our Beetaloo project area have chosen as their representative, the Northern Land Council. We respect the traditional decision-making process of Native Title holders for the specific areas where we undertake activity.
As Origin has so far carried out work on just 0.01 per cent of our Beetaloo permit areas, or around 250 hectares, our focus has been on engaging with the Native Title Holders on those areas where we are working.
All our activity has been cleared in advance through sacred site avoidance and clearance survey processes. Native Title holder participation and Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) oversight gives Origin confidence we are taking appropriate measures to protect cultural heritage.
We understand there may be differing views in any community about fracking. Origin has consistently said that we are open to meeting with any Native Title Holders or community members who want to learn more about our work. If invited, we would welcome the opportunity to come to community and meet, listen and discuss any concerns.