Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014
Parliamentary Record 10
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 Thursday 13 February 2014 3416 I remind you of the flack I copped when I signed for the location of the ConocoPhillips plant in the harbour. There was so much misinformation floating around, it was frightening. I had people telling me that if an LNG cargo ship catches fire in the harbour there would be a nuclear-like explosion, which was unbelievable. I had one of the CLP members, the then member for Goyder, objecting to the establishment of the ConocoPhillips plant in the harbour, which was utter rubbish. The only way we defended that was with clear scientific advice and presentation of all the facts to the public. Fracking can be a very contentious, sensitive issue because many people do not understand the science behind it or they misunderstand the frightening names of chemicals used in fracking. To give you an example, I recall a few years ago a campaign to ban H2O was run in America. H2O is a terrible element, which kills people. If there is H2O in a room, people die. An enormous number of people signed to ban H2O. What they signed to ban was water, which is what H2O is. You must be very careful how you go about fracking because you can finish with such a reaction from the public that it will be impossible to proceed. I encourage and support you to proceed with exploration for oil and gas. How it is done is to provide information to the public. It is better to be front-footed rather than try to defend it, because when you reach the stage of defence, you have already lost the war. Minister, I welcome this very good statement. I am also looking forward to hearing another statement about the Ord development because I understand it has gone belly-up and stalled. The Western Australia government does not like talking to anybody else. The food bowl described before will not be a food bowl. It will produce sugar, according to the Chinese. The Chinese are already telling people it might not happen in the next 10 years. We will see how things go. Thanks for the oil and gas statement. I can see things are happening. I wish you had more power to pressure your Chief Minister to provide gas to Gove because the company left, using the gas to Gove excuse to pull out. Oil and gas companies in Perth told me that. They also told me that had the Chief Minister spoken to them about gas, they could provide adequate gas for Power and Water and the refinery in Gove so Rio Tinto would not pull out. I find it completely embarrassing that the Chief Minister tried to find excuses about why Rio Tinto left. He tried to say I signed approval for Rio Tinto to export bauxite. Yes, I did. That was a requirement under the lease agreement the minister of the Northern Territory had to sign for Rio Tinto to export any amount of bauxite. Barry Coulter, the then CLP minister for Mines, when he was in power, had to sign exactly the same agreement for Rio Tinto to export bauxite. It was not an excuse for Rio Tinto to go. Rio Tinto had its own reason, but it was trying to find a trigger. The member for Blain knew and realised that. Unfortunately, the little boy opposite thought like a little boy and did not realise, did not get it, unless he had a secret agreement with Rio Tinto that he would pull out of the agreement for gas, so Rio Tinto would find the trigger to go. Yes, it is a conspiracy theory, but nothing would surprise me anymore. I hope you are strong enough, minister. I have heard rumours you might be prepared for bigger and better places. Nothing surprises me in this parliament. I have been here for 13 years and have seen things I did not believe possible. If, by any chance, you go to bigger and better places, you will have the opportunity to use your position as minister for Mines to do good things for the Territory. Remember, the Territory is not only Darwin and Katherine. It is Borroloola, Utopia, Alice Springs, the Tiwi Islands and everywhere else where people want jobs and do not have them. I thank the minister for this statement. It is a good statement and I fully support him. Forget the politics, this is about better jobs for Territorians, our kids, our people and the Territory. I will support him in future endeavours with regard to oil and gas. Ms WALKER (Nhulunbuy): Madam Speaker, I also welcome the statement from the minister. I thank him for bringing the statement about the Northern Territorys gas future before the House. I am sure members opposite are not surprised to see me stand, nor will they be surprised to hear my contribution to this debate will be about a lost opportunity for the gas future and a region shafted and devastated by the mishandling of a major gas deal that has seen a community declining before our very eyes. A gas deal was pulled from the table by the current Chief Minister, which has truly devastated a community. My constituents would expect nothing less of me than to seize every opportunity in this House to talk about and communicate to this parliament what their views are. The Chief Minister has little of substance to say on the subject of what they are doing to support the people of Nhulunbuy and the wider region. He has nothing to say about what he is doing in lobbying the federal government for support, other than to say, We are having discussions and meetings.