Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014

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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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Hansard Office

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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 13 February 2014 3423 met with the South Korean ambassador on his way through Darwin not so long ago. They are extremely interested in what is occurring in gas exploration offshore in the Territory. He was curious about the onshore prospects. I advised the ambassador of the Committee on the Northern Territorys Energy Future, created by the government. I believe it is fair, when dealing with nations discussing onshore supply, to be up-front about our internal domestic processes and let them know we have traditional owners, first and foremost, the owners of vast tracts of land where we have these onshore developments. They would need to play a role in information, discussions and, ultimately, negotiations with them to yield these resources. Overlay that with the, as yet, unresolved fracking debate in the Northern Territory, which is crucial to the work of the energy committee of the parliament. I note the statement by the minister pretty strongly indicated you are already there; as far as the government is concerned, you are profracking. I urge caution in pre-empting the outcome and recommendations of a parliamentary committee. We have these committees so we can find out for ourselves what occurs in the Territory and what the circumstances are. The opposition has been very upfront with stakeholders in indicating we have not yet formed a policy position, but are fully participating in the energy committee to hear evidence and understand what that evidence shows. I note the comments of the member for Nelson, who has raised a point I wish to highlight. It is timely, because the minister who made this statement is also the minister for natural resources. He issued a media release today pointing out that the Territory will have one water catchment committee, rather than a series of committees which it has had in the past. Water advisory catchment committees covered specific targeted areas in the Northern Territory to look, in a more regional manner, at the water allocations of those regions. That has been scrapped by the minister and we now have a situation where you will have one Territory-wide water catchment committee. I have some genuine concerns about the process. We will be looking for some information to come forthwith from government on that policy shift, what has prompted the policy shift and what its reasoning and thinking behind it is. When it comes to fracking, without a doubt it is about how much water is needed for that process in the area of a specific project. I have some concerns about moving away from regionallybased catchment committees to a whole-ofNorthern Territory committee at such an important time. Our community is embarking on debates around the value and environmental processes of fracking, which goes straight to the great water debate. It is curious timing, minister, and perhaps not helpful in your own pro-fracking policy position enunciated in this statement. You seem to have pre-empted the outcomes of the parliamentary committee, but so be it. It is a bit of a cavalier style, which is a hallmark of the way you operate. Handing out gigalitres of water licences to your CLP mate, Tina Macfarlane, was as cavalier as it comes, and we are still putting FOIs on that. I will give you a tip: that one has not gone away. I have mixed feelings about this statement. I was hopeful. It could have been a fantastic statement if only the Chief Minister had not reneged on the gas to Gove deal. You have heard, in the member for Nhulunbuys contribution, the very genuine consequences of that reneging. It sent a signal and a shudder through a crucial mining sector, oil and gas sector, and to us, that the governments word could not be trusted. It took as word that there was a deal from the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory and could not believe a Chief Minister of the same party could arbitrarily renege on a deal. It is a very dangerous sovereign risk signal the CLP has sent to global companies, which are expected to look at the potential of investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the billions in projects. On our watch, we saw the resources sector grow, increasing to a 17% contribution to our economy, supporting hundreds of jobs. We saw the delivery and foundation of the ConocoPhillips DLNG gas processing plant. We won what many people thought we would never get, but we got it off Western Australia; we have the Ichthys project here, which is under construction both offshore and onshore. I am getting regular updates from INPEX Total, and I appreciate those updates. It is a big project, our nations second largest project at $34bn. It is Japans and Frances largest ever investment in Australia. What DLNG and Ichthys at Blaydin Point both do is establish the foundation of a significant potential to yield the exploration and land it onshore in Darwin going forward so you know what the next big project is. Those two operations both have pre-approved trains, which is what gives us our competitive advantage in the global oil and gas market. In my discussions in Tokyo in December with the Ministry of Energy, Trade and Industry METI in Japan, it was an interesting time when it was on the verge of announcing its future energy considerations. Japan has huge issues with the nuclear plants. There is speculation it may have only 11, at some stage, come back into commission.