The Northern Territory news Thu 8 Mar 2018
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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin
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News Corp Australia
04 NEWS THURSDAY MARCH 8 2018 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 DARWIN is the most likely home for a facility to process billions of dollars of gas lying under the Timor Sea. East Timor and Australia yesterday signed off on a historic agreement to settle the maritime boundary between the two nations, ending more than a decade of bitter struggle. Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Timorese minister for delimitation of borders, Hermenegildo Augusto Cabral Pereira, signed the agreement in New York yesterday. It is a landmark event for our two nations, but Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Timorese minister for delimitation of borders, Hermenegildo Augusto Cabral Pereira, at the signing of a maritime borders treaty between Australia and East Timor at UN Headquarters in New York yesterday Picture: ALBIN LOHR-JONES/SIPA USA Timor border deal puts NT gas facility on table also for international law, Ms Bishop said. Both our governments have deemed this to be a just and equitable outcome. The agreement means the rich undersea Greater Sunrise gas reserves believed to be worth $56 billion will finally be able to be exploited. The gas fields lie north of the median line between Australia and East Timor. Australia had long fought for a border to be drawn at the end of the Australian continental shelf, which would put it much closer to East Timor. Mr Pereira said the new treaty would write a new chapter in the friendship between our two countries. We are talking billions of dollars over the life of such a resource project. Sending the gas to East Timor would probably be the more costly option, as it would require laying pipes across the 5km deep Timor Trough. But Mr Pereira said companies had told East Timor that it was feasible to build a pipeline to the country. We believe seriously that a successful pipeline to the south coast of Timor would be a game changer and have a transformational impact on the socio-economic status of the country, he said. The two governments and gas companies are still work ing out labour arrangements, which will set training targets and the location of the offshore workforce. NT Resources Minister Ken Vowles said Darwin was the logical home for a gas processing facility. We already have proven with Inpex and Conoco Philips we can and we are already a major gas hub and we should do everything we can to grow that industry, he said. A Darwin processing facility would mean more jobs for the Territory, which could help to fill the Inpex void, he said. Mr Vowles said settlement of the border dispute would open up economic opportunities for both countries. HAYLEY SORENSEN It is a landmark event for our two nations Ms Bishop said the treaty would give East Timor the biggest share of oil and gas revenue. It will be split either 80-20 if gas is piped to Darwin for processing or 70-30 if it is piped to East Timor, she said. F O R E I G N A F F A I R S M I N I S T E R J U L I E B I S H O P FORMER East Timorese president Xanana Gusmao was willing to give up $3.8 billion in gas royalties to Australia, to be used by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to solve the Northern Territorys problems. Mr Gusmao was East Timors chief negotiator in the talks to draw up a permanent maritime boundary between the two countries. He wrote to the deals conciliators in the days before an agreement was signed to reveal he had proposed giving Australia an extra 10 per cent of the royalties should gas-processing facilities be based in Timor. Mr Gusmao said that extra revenue could be used by Australia as a local content contribution to improve the standard of living of the Northern Territorys indigenous population. In the letter, he wrote of visiting the NT in 1968, 1974 and 1999. I can say without much doubt that the living conditions of the Aboriginal people, the true land owners, did not change substantially in two and a half decades (sic). I have confirmed this over the years in subsequent visits, he wrote. Mr Gusmao said his prior knowledge of the dire situation of the native population was cemented by a documentary on the NTs prisons. This documentary showed images of the poor Aboriginal men and women under the control of the social (in) justice system, he wrote. The extra royalties cash could be used by Mr Turnbull to solve the Northern Territorys problems and improve the quality of life of the Aboriginal population. Resources Minister Ken Vowles said it was a proposal Mr Turnbull should take up. Mr Vowles said Mr Gusmaos comments showed the Timorese independence leader understood the uphill battle faced by the Territory in the areas of Aboriginal health, education and alcohol abuse. Chief Minister Michael Gunner said: Aboriginal Territorians and the Timorese are some of the most disadvantaged people in the region. Both deserve to enjoy the financial benefits of offshore gas production. Royalty offer to fix our problems HAYLEY SORENSEN Entries open at 9:00am on 5 March, 2018 and close 11:59pm 12 March, 2018. Australian residents only. Limited to one entry per eligible member. Winners determined on 13 March 2018 at 11.00am at Mastercard, Level 3, 34 James Craig Road, Rozelle NSW 2039. Winners name to be published on the +Rewards website. Total prize pool valued up to $4,000. Full terms and conditions available at plusrewards.com.au. NSW Permit No. LTPM/18/02774. ACT Permit No. ACT TP 18/00253 Win a double pass to see Tomb Raider in cinemas March 15 Conditions apply Are you ready for Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft? Tomb Raider is in cinemas on March 15, and were giving you the chance to win 1 of 100 double passes. Its just one of the many perks for NT News Rewards Members. Enter now at ntnews.com.au/rewards
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