Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007

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Parliamentary Record 17


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4865 talking about the future of northern Australia as a hub for growth. There is a potential for the north of Australia to become a bread basket but, unlike the experience in the Murray-Darling, there has to be a sustainable approach applied. With the arrival of global warming, the scientific pointers are that the tropics will receive even greater amounts of rain. It goes without saying that some peoples disaster is anothers fortune. In any event, there is much more to be done. As a result of Senator Heffernans enthusiasm, if the Coalition wins government at the next election, we would expect that relationship and the federal governments enthusiasm to continue. I am hopeful that, in the event that federal Labor is elected, they will continue to regard the north of Australia as a hub for growth because it makes sense to do so. I have to say, however, there are a couple of things, Chief Minister, you will not like, but I will put them to you anyway because, despite our differences, it is our job to put things to you, whether you agree with them or not. I am sure you will appreciate them in the spirit in which they are given. We were interested, bemused perhaps, to see what was regarded as an 11th hour advance to the Japanese about trying to wrest INPEX away from the Western Australians. The trip to see the Chair and the President to change their location for coming onshore from the Kimberley to Darwin did rather seem to be too little too late. The Ichthyus Field in Browse Basin is closer to Western Australia by a considerable stretch, and it is my understanding that the deal was almost complete with the Western Australians. It struck me as being too little too late, and does sit in stark contrast to the approach that was used in the past successfully by Premier Court and Chief Minister Stone. Rather than competing with each other, they often travelled together to open markets for the fields, and both had enormous success, as we all know, in Japan and China. If you take a look across the harbour and ask yourself whether that relationship was successful, everyone would say that it was. We were interested in what appeared to us to be your last ditch attempt - an attempt, no doubt, but too little too late. What is missing from the statement is that the Browse Basin also has another major interest in play. Shell Woodside is currently in negotiation with Petro China to sell an amount of $45bn worth of gas to China from the Browse field. It would be ambitious to try to wrestle that away from Western Australia considering that Shell Woodside is headquartered in Perth and the location of Browse Basin is so close to Western Australia. There is another opportunity that may well arise that everyone has seemed to miss, other than my colleague and deputy, the member for Blain. I will be interested to know, in the Chief Ministers response, whether the Territory government followed the member for Blains lead and has spoken to Shell Woodside as he did only a few weeks ago. The member for Blain got on a plane and went to see Shell Woodside in Perth. He spoke with me about that. The reason for this is that Shell Woodside is the developers of the Greater Sunrise field, north of Darwin. Greater Sunrise, as we all know, is enormous. If Shell Woodside is using their interests in the Browse Basin to satisfy a $45bn customer, then any more customers will have to be serviced, in every likelihood, from other fields. Shell Woodside is looking for customers all of the time. As the demand for gas increases internationally, the pressure on Shell Woodside to develop Greater Sunrise will become irresistible for them. It is obvious the role Darwin has to play. Although the Greater Sunrise field is closer to Timor, there is an under sea trench about 4 km deep that makes bringing the gas onshore an engineering nightmare, I am advised. Processing at sea is still difficult technology, therefore, Darwin, which is on the same continental shelf, does look very attractive by any measure. I turn to Glyde Point. The Territory government and the opposition come from quite different perspectives when it comes to Glyde Point. It was secured by the former CLP government for industrial development because the CLP realised years ago that when Greater Sunrise came online, it would be a massive field and the possible industries that are associated with that would be land-hungry and high profile and, indeed, they are. Currently we export iron ore. We have to ask: how long will it be before someone wants to value-add the product and build a steel works, for instance, in Darwin? That was going to go out, under the CLPs vision, to Glyde Point with transport corridors to the wharves in Darwin Harbour. I ask the Chief Minister where that future heavy industry will go now because the only land available zoned for industrial development is Middle Arm. That zoning, when put in place by the CLP, was to create another Winnellie and it was never intended for heavy industry. That is why the CLP selected Glyde Point in the first place. Uninformed and incorrect comment by the Northern Territory News on this issue has not helped and, while they are busy manufacturing incorrect facts such as attributing comments to me about Berrimah Farm, the real issue is being lost; that there is nowhere for heavy industry to go. As you know - and we raised it with the minister for