Seed Mob continue to mobilise young Indigenous people across the Northern Territory as fracking spreads across Country.


In October 2021, I travelled to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory to start my long journey out to Borroloola and Minyerri in the lead up to the Origin Energy Annual General Meeting. 


Origin Energy would usually hold their AGM in Sydney in person, and we would support Traditional Owners to make the trip from regional and remote communities across the NT to the AGM in Sydney. They would ask questions to Origin face-to-face, and we would back in TOs by attending the AGM via phone and emphasising their questions and concerns.


The year 2021 was different.


It was just over a year since COVID first hit our shores and the country was still adjusting to the ‘new normal’, so the Origin AGM was online. This meant that staff had to travel out to communities and bring TOs to a location that had reception to be able to dial in to the AGM. It wasn’t until this moment that I understood the vast distance between major towns and communities; in under seven days I travelled almost 12,000 km (6000 km of that was driving in the NT) to ensure that TOs had their voices heard at the AGM. 


During the AGM, Seed staff and TOs attended by proxy of shareholders. We kept the pressure on Origin and hit them with the hard questions: 


If groundwater is polluted from the processes and production of shale gas fracking, who is accountable for that damage?


How can you claim that you are committed to the rights of Indigenous people when there are serious doubts about your ability to obtain free, prior and informed consent?


How can you guarantee that the health and wellbeing of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities will not be sacrificed by your fracking projects?


The response we received from Origin was as to be expected – long-winded answers that did not actually respond to the concerns of community and TOs.  


Post-AGM, we hung around for a few days to support TOs and community through the upset and the hurt that the AGM had caused to ensure that community and TOs could come back stronger than ever.


I travelled home and got stuck straight into Welcome Nights across the country to bring new young First Nations volunteers into the Seed network and increase the capacity of our young people to take action on the campaign and support those mob on the frontlines.


Our work on the ground was not for the faint-hearted. It was long stints driving on a road that continued straight for hours on end. It was so hot that you could see the heat waves on the horizon as you drove. You had to ensure you were prepared for the long drives between servos and had enough water and food if anything was to happen.


But the most challenging of all was saying, “See you later” to the people that are the heart of the campaign. 


- Angel Owen is a proud Butchulla & Woppaburra woman, living and working on Barada Barna Country. She is the Chief Impact Officer at Seed Mob. A passionate and staunch environmentalist, Angel was one of five Indigenous youth who originally supported the launch of Seed in 2014 and was awarded with the NAIDOC Youth of the Year award for her district in 2016. She has dedicated herself to the movement and fighting for First Nations Justice and has inspired many along the way.

Seed have taken the fight against fracking in the Territory and put it on a national stage.


Seed has been working towards our vision for First Nations people to lead climate solutions and build strong, resilient and sustainable communities. We organise and build the power of First Nations communities on the frontlines of fossil fuel projects.

In this campaign, we built long-lasting relationships with communities on the ground, took their direction and leveraged our national lens and platform to elevate their voices and demands, ensured we shared the most up to date information with both impacted communities and our supporter base, and provided avenues for supporters to take action in solidarity.

Here is a timeline of Seed’s impact work in this space to date:

In 2016, Seed was invited to Borroloola by a group of young people where we met with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities who are saying no to fracking on their Country and calling for investment in long-term sustainability and health of remote communities. From there, we went on to launch the #DontFrackTheNT campaign, securing a two-year moratorium on unconventional gas extraction after the NT election.

In 2017, we held the NT government to its election promise of an independent inquiry into fracking and were successful in advocating for remote community hearings to ensure that the voices of those most impacted were heard. We also held a NT Aboriginal fracking forum with 60 Traditional Owners and community members, which led to Borroloola becoming the first Aboriginal community to declare themselves ‘gasfield free’.

In 2018, we led anti-fracking rallies across the country and launched our Water is Life short film in response to the NT government's decision to lift the moratorium on unconventional gas extraction. We then hosted over 50 film screenings to raise national awareness about the campaign.

In 2019, we worked with local leaders in Minyerri to become the second Aboriginal community in the country to declare themselves gasfield free. We also partnered with GetUp!, Original Power and Lock The Gate to target Origin Energy in the lead up to their AGM, by hosting nation-wide “Power of Country” town hall events.

In 2020, our team on the ground in the NT ensured that fracking remained a key issue for voters in the lead up to the Territory election. We had over 5000 conversations across 21 different communities, ensuring that Aboriginal people were enrolled to vote, had the information they needed about the election, how voting works and where candidates stand on issues they cared about, including fracking.

In 2021, we established a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Morrison Government’s $50 million handout to fast-track fracking in the Beetaloo Basin. In partnership with the First Nations Justice team at GetUp!, we supported Traditional Owners to successfully lobby the Senate. This win came one week after we organised a gathering in Darwin with over 60 Traditional Owners from communities across the Northern Territory.

We recently saw a huge campaign win, with Origin Energy, a key player seeking to frack the Beetaloo Basin, announcing their exit from fracking in the NT. This was a result of the pressure and influence of frontline communities and grassroots mob across the country. Seed’s history of strategic corporate campaigning against Origin Energy since 2015 also led to this incredible moment. We deployed tactics such as ‘brand jamming’ online, asking pointed questions at their AGMs, hosting weekly actions outside their headquarters and meeting with their staff.

However, when we took a closer look into Origin’s announcement to exit fracking in the NT, we discovered that it was a greenwashed message. They would divest their stake to Tamboran Resources, another gas company, and continue to profit from the royalties. Tamboran is not public facing – its shareholders and stakeholders are hidden – and there are no customers consuming their product, making it much harder to hold them accountable.

We always knew this campaign would be an uphill battle, but our impact work so far has led to Origin Energy divesting their stake in the Beetaloo Basin, gas fracking becoming a national issue, and thousands of supporters taking action in solidarity. Seed was one of the first organisations to enter into the gas space, and we are proud to have been leaders in developing this campaign.

To keep up to date with Seed’s campaigns, upcoming events and ways to get involved, please join here.

Seed Mob continue to mobilise young Indigenous people across the Northern Territory as fracking spreads across Country.


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