Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012
Parliamentary Record 1
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 255 The Chief Minister says he supports exploration. I remind him that it was his party, when in government, that intentionally stopped exploration in the Territory by withholding hundreds of licences for exploration in different areas of the Territory because they did not want, as a matter of principle, to negotiate with Indigenous Territorians who happened to have the land where exploration was about to take place. My colleague, the member for Wanguri, was the first Mining minister and he still describes how he walked into his office and found a pile of exploration licenses stamped not to be processed under the CLP government. We support exploration and we ensured exploration happened in the Territory. In 2006, the exploration expenses in the Territory were $50m; last year exploration expenditure in the Northern Territory was $220m that did not happen by accident; that happened because we went out promoting the Territory. I do not say that because I was a minister in the Labor government, organisations like the Fraser Institute said so. The Territory rated eleventh out of 300 jurisdictions, states and countries around the world as the place to do business in mining. The Northern Territory was rated first in Australia as the place to do business in mining. This is because we are proactive in promoting mining in the Territory and in assisting mining development. I would like to mention Bootu Creek, Territory Iron, Western Desert Resources, Sherwin Iron, Ilmenite Resources, Mine Makers, and the oil and gas exploration, Hess, Falcon, PetroFrontier, Central Petroleum - the Territory today is covered with exploration applications for the whole land mass of the Northern Territory. The name Arafura came up and the Chief Minister blamed the Labor government for not providing land to the Arafura to establish their plant. Arafura met once with the department of Mines, never met with the minister, never met with me. Arafura wanted land very close to the harbour. Unfortunately, some of the by-products of Arafura would not be beneficial for the harbour. One of their by-products was uranium. You can imagine the reaction of anyone in the greater Darwin area when you propose to produce uranium in the middle of the harbour. Arafura acquired land in South Australia that is not near the waterfront. It is well away from the waterfront in industrial land. That shows that even other states would not give Arafura the land they require near the waterfront. We supported Arafura in every stage of its development. We even supported Arafura and its Chinese partners to overcome some of the difficulties they faced in Australia. I personally intervened on behalf of their Chinese partners to explain some of the firms requirements and to explain to the Foreign Investment Review Board the owners requirement for investment by the Chinese-owned enterprise ECE to Arafura. When the Chief Minister talks about other ports in the Territory, it was this Labor government and me who proposed that Western Desert Resources uses the Bing Bong Loading Facility in Borroloola as a second port. It was me who proposed to the federal minister, Martin Ferguson, that the possible development and future development of a second port in the Territory, and the Bing Bong in particular, would be beneficial not only for the Territory, but also for the development of Western Queensland mining projects. I am pleased to say that Western Desert Resources had talks with Xstrata which are progressing very well. It was our government that worked very closely with the Charles Darwin University to develop faculties and facilities to train people to support mining. It was the Labor government and me personally who instigated the geologist scholarship program in the department of Mines, which provides a three-year scholarship of $12 000 a year to Territorians to study geology - I believe one of your family members was a beneficiary of that scholarship - to attract and retain future geologists in the Territory. We worked very closely with every project in the Territory to ensure that projects in the Territory use Territory companies for their construction, running and maintenance. We did that with ConocoPhillips and INPEX. We assisted companies to up-skill. It is very alarming to hear now that some of the local companies will not bid for INPEX contracts because they cannot meet their standards or they do not think they have the ability to meet their standards. I noticed that the Chief Minister said he spoke to INPEX and asked them to consider local companies. Do not just talk to INPEX! Make sure your government is providing the opportunities and assistance to local companies to up-skill to meet the very rigorous occupational health and safety standards and engineering standards INPEX, and projects like INPEX, demand from companies who want to work there. We helped companies and we expect this government to do the same. Today, we heard some very disturbing news, the Meijin company that made an offer to Western Desert Resources pulled out of this agreement and Western Desert Resources announced it is not aware of the reason behind it. I suggest that the government meets with Meijin on their proposed trip to China and finds out why they did not proceed with this acquisition and suggests to Western Desert
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