Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 2010

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Parliamentary Record 15


Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012




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 - Thursday 21 October 2010 about this government not having any business when we are debating a statement. I cannot see anyone from the other side taking the opportunity to speak about the marine supply base Members interjecting. Mr VATSKALIS: that would be very encouraging Members interjecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Mr VATSKALIS: I welcome the significant contribution a marine supply base will make to my Resources portfolio. As outlined by the Chief Minister, our economy is stronger than it has ever been and, as the biggest contributor to the Territorys economy, the resource sector has played a major role in the strong position we enjoy today. Mining contributed over 26.5% of the gross state product of the Territory for 2008-09, the highest proportion of all Australian jurisdictions, and employs more than 4000 people. The government is capitalising on the opportunities in front of us. In the five years to 2009-10 the real value of mining production in the Territory is estimated to have grown by 40.3%, driven by strong demand for Territory commodities, particularly from China and Japan. It only takes a look at the map to see we are the centre of the universe; we are closer to some Southeast Asian capitals than to Adelaide, Perth or Sydney. If you look at the possibility of markets, to our south there are about 30 million consumers; to our north - a four hour flight - there are about a billion consumers. During this time we matched this demand with dedicated China and Japan investment strategies. They say: build it and we will come. We built the investment strategy; we went there, and, boy, have they come - $145m invested in exploration by Chinese companies, a further $45m exploration by Japanese companies, and it is going to get bigger and better because the demand in China is enormous, and I am not talking about mineral resources, I am talking about oil and gas. Today we live in a world hungry for energy. In the past we have seen energy produced by coal, however, with climatic change and the concerns of all nations about greenhouse emissions and their effect on our climate, people are looking for other sources of energy; anything from clean coal, if there is such a thing, to uranium and gas. Gas is the focus at the moment because there is plenty, it is easy to transport, and building a gas power station is much cheaper than building a uranium power station. On my last trip to China I was informed the Chinese are building 17 gas terminals on the east coast of China, mainly for the production of power. Recently, I visited Singapore and met with the chairman of an energy production company who wants gas in Singapore from different suppliers so he is not relying on one or two in the region, namely, Indonesia and Malaysia. I spoke about exploration in the Territory, which has gone gangbusters. We are the only jurisdiction in Australia to have a significant increase in exploration 1% in 2008. All other states suffered a significant drop over the same period, with total Australian expenditure down 22%, and expenditure in South Australia down 49%. The indications are 2010 will be another record year. Yesterday, I was listening to the member for Fong Lim who said how bad things were in the mining industry in Australia because of the mineral tax, and how, according to the Fraser Institute in Canada, Australia had been in 10th position but now is in 30th position, near Rwanda. I went to my computer and searched the Fraser Institute and would like to inform the House that Australia is not in 30th position with Rwanda. At the height of the mining tax debate it went from 10th position to 14th position. I bet the next one surveyed by the Fraser Institution will show Members interjecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Mr VATSKALIS: Australia has bounced back. That does not apply to the Territory because we have had a profit-based royalties system in the Territory since the CLP days. They were the first to put it in place, and it was a very good policy to attract miners. We have kept it in place; it continues today and we have had no complaints from mining companies, even when we raised the royalty payments by 2%. I argued with my counterparts in Canberra for open dialogue with the mining industry to discuss and apply the model we have in the Territory. The exploration boom in the Territory did not happen by chance. Prior to our dedicated China and Japan investment strategy, the Territory lacked on-ground presence in both markets, with little awareness of the Territorys potential and opportunities. To address this challenge the department has built local partnerships to promote the Territorys mineral potential. While a broad increase in global demand for new resources is expected, the Territory will face increasing competition from other Australian states and global markets. I saw that for first time when I met 6523