Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Tue 30 Jul 2013



The Northern Territory news Tue 30 Jul 2013

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

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News Corp Australia

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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News Corp Australia



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www.ntnews.com.au Tuesday, July 30, 2013. NT NEWS. 3 P U B : NTNE-WS-DA-TE:30-JGE:3 CO-LO-R: C-M Y-K ntnews.com.au l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l l GOVE IN CRISIS Done deal or no deal By ALISON BEVEGE in Nhulunbuy Giles, Tollner claims just bizarre: Mills Its a card Iwas holding to play, and AdamGiles threw that card away Former ChiefMinister TerryMills EDITORIAL IT is now clear the deal was not, officially, a deal Page 12 DEPOSED CLP chief minister Terry Mills has defended his decision to tell the public five months ago that there had been a done deal to save Nhulunbuy. As pressure mounts on the Giles Government over its dealings with Pacific Aluminium, Mr Mills said yesterday he always held the card of domestic gas reservations to ensure that gas was made available to the Territory. Its a card I was holding to play, and Adam Giles threw that card away, he said. But the NT News has sighted letters from Mr Mills that confirm no deal was ever made between Pacific Aluminiums parent company, Rio Tinto, and the NT Government to provide 300 petajoules of gas to Gove. A February 12 letter from Mr Mills to Rio Tinto chief executive in London, Sam Walsh, states Mr Mills had instructed his officers to expedite our due diligence process and proceed quickly to finalise the necessary documents to formalise the arrangements for the release of gas as soon as possible. This was the day before Mr Mills said in a media release that there had been a done deal to secure the future of Gove. In response to criticism he was premature to claim a deal had been done, Mr Mills said: Of course it was subject to due diligence. The question was asked of Cabinet would we put in the large pot of gas, and we made the threshold decision to do so, he said. For any Cabinet member to assert it wasnt the case I just find it astonishing. The original agreement would have seen Pacific Aluminium sold 300PJ of gas over 10 years from the NT Governments supply. But the new deal, announced on Friday, would see just 195PJ of gas provided over 15 years. Mr Giles has said Mr Mills proposed deal exposed the Territory to a potential $3.2 billion risk. Deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner said the Territory did not have 300PJ of gas to give, but Mr Mills said that was just bizarre. Cabinet agreed to the previous decision, he said. Cabinet was with me but there was a change (to Adam Giles as leader). Federal Opposition energy spokesman Ian Macfarlane slammed Mr Mills, saying his February deal was too generous and he had not listened to advice. Mr Mills said under the original deal, the Territory would have had gas until 2026. Mr Macfarlane said he would consider gas reservations for commonwealth offshore deposits if elected. Heat turned up on Coalitions Gove gas plan By ALISON BEVEGE Long-term Nhulunbuy resident Helen Grant, 59, gets her message across to deputy Chief Minister Dave Tollner, Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources Ian Macfarlane and CLP candidate for the seat of Lingiari Tina MacFarlane at the fiery public meeting yesterday while, below, Nhulunbuy grandmother Denise Fincham, left, and Hannah Seaniger, 32, also let the politicians know exactly where they stand Pictures: MICHAEL FRANCHI IF THEY thought it was a winning strategy, then they were wrong. Federal Opposition energy spokesman Ian Macfarlane travelled to Gove to announce that the Coalition would guarantee 300 petajoules of gas to keep the Pacific Aluminium refinery running if elected, saving the town of Nhulunbuy. He said the Coalition would consider domestic gas reservations from offshore gas reserves in Commonwealth waters. Mr Macfarlane said if elected the Coalition would underwrite the gas pipeline to Gove, subject to due diligence. It would form a consortium to guarantee gas to fill it, if the refinery guaranteed to stay open for 20 years. But nobody believed him. The townsfolk had heard it all before, in February, from former Chief Minister Terry Mills in what was proclaimed to be a guaranteed deal to save the region. As Deputy Chief Minister David Tollner fronted an angry hundred-strong crowd at the Walkabout Lodge, they accused him of lying. All the business world is watching you and clearly your word is not worth anything, said long-term resident Denise Fincham. Dave Tollner and Ian Macfarlane turned on Terry Mills, proclaiming his deal too generous. We didnt have the 300 petajoules to give, Mr Tollner said of the deal he signed off on when in Cabinet. Pacific Aluminium general manager of Gove Ryan Cavanagh said the disappointed company would take the offer back to Brisbane to consider the details. He said the refinery could be around for 40 years, if a solution was found: If we had gas at the right price its my understanding that it would be profitable. But Stock Analysis analyst Peter Strachan said a fall in aluminium prices and an inventory overhang due to overproduction in China meant alumina production at Gove would not be profitable now even with gas. If the new deal is not as attractive, Rio Tinto would be saying just close it down, he said. A report by the Boston Consulting Group earlier this month said a severe oversupply meant the industry needed to consolidate. Under a 25-year take-orpay contract with Eni Australia, Government-owned power and water corporation had 750 petajoules until 2036. They had guaranteed 300 petajoules of cheap public gas for Gove, which would have seen public supplies run out by 2026. Later research showed giving up half the public sup plies would risk costing the public up to $3.2 billion. Thats not counting the risk of underwriting the cost of building the pipeline, which has been estimated at up to $900 million. An angry Member for Nhulunbuy Lynne Walker said Mr Macfarlanes an nouncement smacked of a political stage show. On Friday, Adam Giles breaks the deal and then on Monday the coalition pre tends to fix it, said Ms Walker. No one can possibly believe them, they will do and say anything before the election and then pretend there is no deal afterwards. The fact that Adam Giles is now accusing Pacific Aluminium of holding Gove to ransom unless they agree to his backflip is incredibly arrogant. He ripped up the deal. For CLP to hold a party fundraiser in Gove tonight shows just how insensitive they are. They should cancel their fundraiser and hold a community forum instead to hear the concerns of the people of Gove.