Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007
Parliamentary Record 12
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3847 industry. The Chief Minister said yesterday that through 2005 and 2006, the GSP grew by 7.5%. This year it is expected to be around 6.2%. Mining plays a large role in that GSP component. We all know that the industry is booming, but the so-called commodities boom in the Territory is no accident. It is the result of carefully planned and focused effort. In our departments Mines Division, our streamlined approvals process is ensuring that there are more explorers on the ground and that, in turn, translates into more viable mining operations that benefit the Territorys economy and the regional communities located nearby. All the hard work put in by our department is working, and the Territory is the beneficiary. There has been a 66% increase in applications for exploration tenure in 2006, and a 20% increase in granted mineral exploration licences. This equates to a 76% increase in mineral exploration expenditure and a staggering 70% increase in expenditure in petroleum exploration. However, there is more. I recently visited China as part of an investment and exploration attraction program Building the Territorys Resource Base, and the results of that visit are already being felt. Just last week, on 8 and 9 February, I hosted a high-powered delegation from the China Mining Chamber of Commerce and companies Sinosteel and Minmetals. For members information, the China Mining Chamber of Commerce has over 4000 members, and Sinosteel and Minmetals are two of the biggest metal production companies in China. These executives were in the Territory to learn more about the potential investment and exploration opportunities. With resource-hungry China requiring millions of tonnes of most metals, it is not difficult to see why our Mines and Energy Division is putting so much effort into this market. Another little adjunct to the China Mining Chamber of Commerce: they have linked our departments website to theirs, and we understand that there are hundreds of hits a day, so the departments work is being fed through to many Chinese companies and, obviously, that will create more interest. As the Chief Minister mentioned, GBS Gold is developing a series of gold mining operations in the Pine Creek region and this, in turn, has fuelled a building and population boom in the area. The Chief Minister, the member for Katherine and some of my staff visited the first pouring in September last year. It was a very exciting day for the company. Members of their board visited from Canada and South Africa, and their Managing Director, Tony Simpson, has done some fantastic work in establishing strong local links and developing input and, more importantly, employing a local workforce. It is a wonderful success story for Pine Creek and the Katherine region. The township of Pine Creek is feeling the positive spin-offs from these mining operations, and that means jobs for locals and a significant boost to the economy of the region, as at Batchelor and several other regional centres. One of the governments priorities is development in regional areas. I am pleased to report that this priority is being assisted in a major way in many locations by the opening of new or reclaimed mining operations which have, in turn, been made possible by the policies and focus of the government. Another priority is the economic development of indigenous communities and, again, our department has made significant progress in this regard. Within the Primary Industry Division of our department, excellent work is being done assisting and empowering indigenous communities. In both the pastoral industry and the fishing sector, the results have been outstanding through the successes of the Indigenous Pastoral Program, or IPP as we know it, and the Indigenous Marine Rangers project. Also in the mining industry, innovative partnership arrangements between mines and indigenous communities are now the norm rather than the exception. IPP is a multi-agency program which seeks to address the needs of industry for more viable pastoral land and labour, and the needs of indigenous people for sustainable economic and social developments. The program often involves the use of under-utilised land resources under the control of indigenous communities. IPP is a great example of cooperation that involves the Northern Land Council, the Central Land Council, the Northern Territory Cattlemens Association, the Indigenous Land Corporation, the Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and our department. In its first three years, the IPP achieved outstanding results, including developing country to carry and additional 25 000 head of cattle and, this year, further country is being brought into production allowing another 20 000 head. IPP has created jobs in indigenous communities, with 18 seasonal stock camp positions and 25 short-term fencing positions filled by indigenous people in a variety of locations. It has seen the establishment of an Indigenous Training Scheme, initially training and placing a number of young men from the Barkly region last year, with nine people in jobs on corporate pastoral properties this year. It has also seen significant integration of external agencies into the program. This includes training support from the FarmBis program, funding for indigenous training from the Department of Employment, Education and Training, and additional funding for
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