An Aboriginal elder was shocked to discover a website using his image to support fracking, which he has long campaigned against.
Mudburra man Ray Dimakarri Dixon’s image appeared on a website for the Beetaloo Economic Alliance beside a claim that fracking has ‘no impact on air or water quality’.
The Beetaloo Basin, an area more than twice the size of Tasmania located 500km south of Darwin, is said to contain enough shale gas to power Australia for 200 years.
It has attracted the interest of energy companies, including Tamboran Resources, interested in exploratory fracking since the Territory Labor government lifted its moratorium on the controversial coal seem gas ban.
‘I was shocked. It’s horrible, terrible stuff,’ Mr Dixon said in a press release issued by the Central Australian Frack Free Alliance (CAAFA).
‘It makes me feel that people might be looking at it and thinking that I support fracking.’
CAAFA explained on its Facebook page that Ray is seen standing before the Marlinja creek, headwaters of the Ijibarda-Jukurlu wetland system (Lake Woods), that he is striving to protect from the harms of unconventional gas fracking.
‘You can’t just go and put a website up with a person’s image without talking to them,’ Mr Dixon told the ABC.
The Betaloo Economic Alliance website also features messages claiming ‘your opportunity is under attack’ and that fracking projects are ‘in harmony with nature’.
CAAFA says the Betaloo Economic Alliance campaign is likely to be an example of a marketing tactic called ‘astroturfing’.
Astroturfing is the practice of hiding the real sponsors of a message to make it appear to be a grassroots campaign.
CAAFA spokeswoman Hannah Ekin said there is no grassroots campaign supporting fracking in the Betaloo Basin.
‘There’s just a massive grassroots campaign opposing it.’
CAAFA announced it will be taking the NT government to the supreme court over an alleged failure to properly account for the environmental impacts of fracking in the Betaloo Basin.