Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016

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Parliamentary Record 1


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 65 to 124


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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 19 October 2016 108 Community consultation needs to commence on planning for the future of the INPEX village. There are about 8000 people, on shifts, in and out of that village. It will pretty much come to an end this time next year. This time next year they will all have left. It is a great facility, with basketball and tennis courts, a swimming pool, a gym, a tavern and a laundry. It is to be handed over to the community. There is a large area that needs to be developed. The community only accepted the INPEX village being built where it was based on the premise that the facilities would belong to the community and there would be discussions about how the rest of the land should be used. I hope to talk to the Planning minister about it in the new year. We should have some consultation with the community, the government, Litchfield Shire and various NGOs about possibilities for using that area of land. I do not make any promises about what the land should be used for; we need to bring the community in. Consultation is really important. The economy is probably one of the biggest challenges this government will have in this term, with the departure of most of the INPEX works next year. Consideration should be given to smaller projects, instead of the big ones like Tiger Brennan Drive, so smaller companies have an opportunity to win the work. It was a mistake to bring a big Queensland company in, BMD, to do the whole of Tiger Brennan Drive. There were many companies there that came from Queensland. They may have set up an office in Darwin and a place to store their equipment, but they were not genuinely NT companies. King was there, but I struggle to see how local companies had a great benefit. I am not saying they did not have some benefit, but we have try to retain our small companies because they have families, and the social impact of those companies leaving the Territory needs to be taken into account when governments are trying to keep those companies operating. That social capital is important. Some of the issues that came out of the business round tablesit is mentioned in this document. One of the questions raised with me is whether contractors are paying subcontractors or suppliers on time. One of the complaints I am getting is that normally it is a 30-day turnover for your bills; some companies are waiting 60 to 90 days, maybe even longer. Companies can go broke when they have to wait for bigger companies to pay them. I hope that is one of the questions that might be asked at the round table. Are businesses paying their subcontractors and their suppliers on time and not extending the time period? The government says it will expand agribusiness, the resource industry, tourism, international education, construction, Defence and boutique industries. It will have to grapple with the onshore gas industry, and whilst it might have a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, we know if it is done properly, hydraulic fracturing can be done safely. I have been through a lot of this work, and I know if we do it right it can be done for the benefit of the Territory. If Labor says, as it does in this document, it supports the gas pipeline, and we do not have onshore gas, then we have about 685 km of a white elephant. Controversy about hydraulic fracturing is not necessarily about the environment. I am not saying it is not, and from my point of view protection of the environment is the number one matter when it comes to hydraulic fracturing. I have asked a lot of people why this industry is being picked on? You drill a hole in the ground for magnesium, gold or water in the rural area you do not have to go through the processes some of these companies have to go through. You can do as much damage to the aquifers in standard drilling of holes in the ground. Chemicals are used. Take stockfeed bores. Are they capped? Are they protected with concrete so manure does not get down the side into the aquifer? There is nowhere near the amount of work required to protect the aquifer as there is for a hydraulic fracturing well. I say to people if they have this intense concern about the aquifer, then they should apply it to all other forms of drilling and digging holes in the ground. Our mines dig into the aquifer. They spray water out at McArthur River and Jabiru because they are in the water table. It is a matter of good science and how you do it; that is the key. The key for me, as it was in this debate with the last government, is that we have to make sure there are strict controls, enforcement and an independent inspectorate. I have worked with the independent Environmental Defenders Office, which is good to talk to about these issues. They are qualified to give good, hard science advice on these issues. I have no problem with people talking about the environment with this issue, but I have a problem if people are simply anti-gas because they want the world to be run on 100% renewablesthat would be fineand to do that they do not want anything to do with gas at all. They oppose gas being mined because they see that as a contribution to greenhouse gas and those things. Unfortunately, that is not the way of the world. If you live in Alice Springs or Tennant Creek where it gets cold and you want to warm your house, you need gas. If you want to cook the roast lamb, you need gas. You will not do it on batteries, solar or wind, because at the moment they do not have sufficient power to do

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