Building a productive onshore gas industry that protects our unique environment and delivers local jobs

Issued 17 Jul 2018

Implementation Plan Released

The Northern Territory Government has released its plan to implement the recommendations of the Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory (the Inquiry). The Implementation Plan responds to the recommendations in the Final Report from the Inquiry.

The plan is in two parts. The booklet outlines government’s response to the Inquiry and how and when each key component will be implemented.

This plan is supported by a list of all recommendations and further details how each will be implemented.

Both the plan and the accompanying list of recommendations are available online at

The recommendations deal with complex and often interrelated issues. They have been grouped into six major reform areas, and bring together recommendations that require a similar or coordinated response, such as developing mandatory Codes of Practice, or managing social and cultural impacts.

The reform areas are:

  • Strengthening Regulation
  • Ensuring Accountable Industry Practice
  • Safeguarding Water and the Environment
  • Respecting Community and Culture
  • Maximising Regional Benefits and Local Opportunities
  • Planning for Industry.

These six reform areas sit beneath an overarching goal of Building Trust through Transparency.

Independent Officer

Dr David Ritchie has been appointed as the Independent Officer to oversee the implementation of the recommendations.

Dr Ritchie was a member of the Inquiry Panel that consulted widely with the Northern Territory community to hear their views on hydraulic fracturing. The role of the Independent Officer is to provide the Chief Minister and government with independent advice on how the implementation is progressing and being managed.

The nature of this role requires the Independent Officer to remain at arms-length from day-to-day decisions and processes relating to implementation.

The Independent Officer will:

  • oversee the adequacy of implementation actions in line with the intent and spirit of the Inquiry recommendations
  • report directly to the Chief Minister and Cabinet quarterly
  • provide advice and guidance to the Implementation Team, agency CEOs and others as required and appropriate
  • have authority to request information and provide advice directly to agency CEOs.

Implementation of the recommendations requires careful management and coordination. The appointment of the Independent Officer to oversee the implementation of the recommendations is an additional way to ensure increased transparency and accountability of the implementation process, outside normal government reporting systems.

To contact the Independent Officer, email Dr David Ritchie at

Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group

The Final Report from the Inquiry recommended that a Community and Business Reference Group be established to provide feedback to government on the development of an implementation framework, and its subsequent execution (recommendation 16.4).

The Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group (Reference Group) met for the first time on 3 July 2018.

Welcomed by the Chair, Mr Denys Stedman - Buy Local Advocate, Reference Group members discussed and endorsed the Terms of Reference and operating protocols of their appointment and established their governance arrangements. Established to provide a forum for government to seek advice and share information, the meeting focused on the development of the Implementation Plan and how the recommendations will be implemented.

The Independent Officer, Dr David Ritchie, briefed the group and took questions about his role.

The purpose of the Reference Group is to provide:

  • advice to the Northern Territory Government on the implementation plan and its subsequent execution to ensure that the plan aligns with community and industry expectations
  • a forum to share information and provide opportunities for cooperation, and collaboration with key stakeholders
  • a medium through which key stakeholders can communicate their views about the implementation framework and its subsequent execution directly to the Government.

Each member of this group brings a diversity of skills, experience and views from across the community, environmental groups, local business, the gas industry and local government, enabling them to constructively contribute to the process.

The members of the Community and Business Reference Group are:

  • Mr Denys Stedman (Chair) – Buy Local Advocate
  • Mr Jimmy Cocking – Director, Arid Lands Environment Centre
  • Mr Matt Doman – Director, SA and NT, Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association
  • Ms Julie-Ann Stoll – Manager – Mining, Central Land Council
  • Mr Greg Bicknell – Chief Executive Officer, Chamber of Commerce
  • Ms Gillian Duggin – Principal Lawyer and Executive Officer, Environmental Defenders Office
  • Mr Geoff Crowhurst – Chair, Katherine Mining Services Association
  • Mayor Fay Miller – Mayor, Katherine Town Council
  • Prof Alan Cass – Director, Menzies School of Health Research
  • Mr Michael Bridge – Chairman, Tourism NT
  • Mr Joe Morrison – Chief Executive Officer, Northern Land Council
  • Mr Greg Owens – Chief Executive Officer, NT Farmers Association
  • Mr David Ciaravolo –Executive Officer, Amateur Fisherman’s Association of the NT
  • Mr Damian Hale – Organiser, Australian Workers Union
  • Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, rep TBC

The Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group will meet four times a year and will develop a public communique following each meeting.

Communiques will be made publically available here.

Further consultation with the wider community will be undertaken throughout implementation. Interested parties can also communicate their views about the implementation framework and its subsequent execution to the Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group.

You can contact the Onshore Shale Gas Community and Business Reference Group via email at

To keen informed, access additional information and sign up for updates, please visit

To read the Inquiry report and recommendations, please visit

Or you can contact the Hydraulic Fracturing Inquiry Implementation Taskforce at