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
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 236 set their sights on the Northern Territory, a largely untapped source of gas. This government will support active mineral exploration companies built on the investment by China in Territory mineral exploration projects, and work with the many businesses expending time and effort. A great deal of what the earth wants can be found in our own back yard. An example was provided in The Australian on 17 August 2012 and I quote: Toshiba Corp has developed a powerful motor magnet that does not contain the rare earth, dysprosium, but, instead, holds another rare earth, samarium. Make no mistake, this is a big deal. Why is this a big deal for us? Because the NT has samarium in its rare earth mix at Nolans Bore. What we do not have, unfortunately, is a state-ofthe-art processing plant. This reflects the previous governments failure to identify a suitable industrial site. Only one year ago, the Chief Executive of Darwin Port Corporation, Terry OConnor, commented on the greatest resources boom in NT history. He estimated there were 40 mines between Darwin and Alice Springs due to go into production in the next few years, and most of them would export their minerals through East Arm Port. It is disappointing to know those projects are hamstrung by the decisions the previous government failed to fulfil, and that its responsibilities in regard to infrastructure investment, increasing port capacity and diversification have been unmet. Our commitment to Territorians is about expanding the economy. In relation to our mines and energy hub, we will use our higher education institutions - in particular Charles Darwin University, the North Australia Centre for Oil and Gas and its trade, training and process control facilities - to educate the next generation of skilled workers in this important and growing field. We have heard the concerns of local businesses that many of the contracts associated with resource projects in the Territory are going to overseas and interstate companies. They are receiving some contracts for work that would naturally go to Territory businesses because of their location, such as civil works and general construction, but Territory businesses are capable of more and we want them to gain access to more complex, higher-skilled work that will deliver longterm job opportunities for current and future generations. Remember, these are the businesses that you will need to help you during the operational phase of your projects. This government has lobbied vigorously on behalf of local industry to secure more contracts for work associated with the Ichthys gas project. We have pushed for onshore contracts to be broken up into smaller parcels that are a better fit for Territory business and industry, and for those parcels to be offered earlier than originally planned. We have been doing this in partnership with local businesses, the Industry Capability Network, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and its Manufacturers Council. Just last fortnight, a tender for a large fabrication contract was offered to NT firms on the basis that any work performed must be performed in the Territory. This great opportunity is a direct result of our team NT visiting Japan with the single purpose of flying the flag for NT industry when they met JKC representatives. There are many local firms with the capacity to fill these contracts, which include the fabrication of steel structures, ladders, walkways, pipes and platforms. Minister for Business, Peter Chandler, and I have spoken to a number of senior management of both INPEX and JKC to push the case for local businesses. Recently, I met INPEX Chairman, Mr Naoki Kuroda in my office where, among other things, we discussed the potential for Territory industry to become further involved as the Ichthys project grows. Already, INPEX has spent $1bn in the Territory and some major contracts have been awarded: a $340m contract for a workers village at Howard Springs, and a $200m contract for the gas plant foundations at Wickham Point. My government will continue to lobby to ensure the Territory business industry prospers as the gas pipeline and the facility are constructed. It is no surprise that the federal governments White Paper on Australias future engagement with Asia identified Darwins key role in this important area. When the White Paper identifies opportunities like: proximity to Asia, natural attributes, potential sites for new ports, and expanding liquefied natural gas processing industry it is important to note that my government has already moved to capitalise on our vision for a three-hub economy servicing the Territory and engaging in the region. The White Paper goes on to say: ... great opportunities to become a worldleading centre for engineering, financial, medical and education services.