The Northern Territory news Tue 3 May 2011
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14 NT NEWS. Tuesday, May 3, 2011. www.ntnews.com.au P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 3 -M A Y -2 0 1 1 P A G E : 1 4 C O L O R : C M Y K Out the Back TERRITORY TALES REGIONAL ROUND-UP HISTORY with Ellie Turner firstname.lastname@example.org Mining must come clean By ELLIE TURNER HE SAID IT KIMHILL Chief executive Northern Land Council Government agencies need to ensure pollution is not seen asmere collateral damage in pursuit of larger profit margins TRADITIONAL landowners and support bodies are pushing for an overhaul of the uranium mining industrys self-regulation. Its conduct has again been questioned with reports that Kakadu National Park has fallen victim to ongoing radioactive wastewater leaks one of many recent reports of lawless practice among mining giants, according to Northern Land Council chief executive Kim Hill. The council raised concerns based on a CSIRO study that 150,000 litres of contaminated water a day escapes from a tailings dam at Rio Tintos Ranger mine, in Kakadu. Mr Hill said the poor mining practice was fuelled by economic motives. This has come at the cost of basic environmental protection and simple common sense, he said. NLC is not anti-mining. But government agencies need to ensure pollution is not seen as mere collateral damage in pursuit of larger profit margins for shareholders. Whistleblower action last year brought to light a series of incidents including a manganese ore spill into the port of Groote Eylandt, the dumping of 88 tonnes of alumina oxide into Gove Harbor and the release of two tonnes of copper concentrate into Darwin Harbour during loading at East Arm Wharf. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Karl Hampton doubled the fine for not reporting incidents and increased Environmental Protection Authority monitoring staff from three to six. But a report from the Territory EPA slammed systematic flaws in industry accountability. This was echoed by Kakadus Mirrar people, whose decade-long fear of a looming environmental disaster peaked with the floods earlier this year. Rio Tintos share price was hit when Energy Resources Australia the subsidiary company operating Ranger was forced to halt milling at the site in February, as the dam brimmed to capacity. It will not restart operations until September, with 70 contractor jobs lost for the dry season. Nhulunbuy aged-care progress FLEXIBLE aged care is one step closer in Nhulunbuy, says East Arnhem Shire Council community service director Dale Keehne. Residents of Gove Peninsula Region and beyond are hopeful the completion of building designs for a flexible aged care facility in the town will see development begin soon. The council hopes to engage specialist aged-care providers to take up the delivery of the service. It also has secured $2.3 million for the upgrade of aged-care facilities at Milingimbi and Galiwinku, and a further $280,000 for new aged-care vehicles at Umbakumba, Milingimbi and Gapuwiyak. Cash splash for flood-proofing MORE than $20 million will be spent on a new bridge and upgrades for Port Keats Rd, the NT Government said yesterday. About $21.5 million will be spent on improving flood immunity and a new bridge over the Daly River. The bridge will be 184m long and is set to include a pedestrian walkway. Its part of $32 million of work the Government plans to spend on the Top End rural road network for its 2011 Budget. Other network spots earmarked are: ARNHEM Highway: $6.25 million to strengthen and widen sections. FOG Bay Rd: $5 million to continue sealing and upgrading crossings. $30m funding for rural roads Flooding at Giddy Crossing on the Central Arnhem road MORE than $30m will be pumped into East Arnhem Land roads and could bring more relief to remote residents who were trapped when roads were demolished in the Big Wet. The Territory Government is under pressure to repair and maintain its 22,000km road network in the wake of flood damage. People in the rural town of Ramingining were last month isolated when rains cut off their supply and travel route and trashed the only road in and out of town. After several weeks, government bodies pooled resources to supply heavy machinery for residents to begin band aid repair works, according to Arnhem Land Progress Aboriginal Corporation manager Alastair King. He said the situation was exaggerated at the time regarding people fleeing the town in tinnies through croc-infested water to find food but the problem had to be fixed. The only way to get food into town was by barge and helicopter as Ramingining Barge Rd was impassable, Mr King previously told the NT News. Funding to upgrade Barge Rd was included in the Territory Governments $1.7 bil lion submission to Infrastructure Australia, which is under consideration. Construction Minister Gerry McCarthy said it was important to note Ramingining roads were local government owned and operated. East Arnhem Shire Council was not available for comment, but last month spokeswoman Aroha Jennings said its budget had only $40,000 for roads. Newbridge for Katherine A NEW $6 million bridge at King River has been announced as part of an investment in the Katherine Region, following a recordbreaking wet season. Minister for Construction Gerry McCarthy said the high-level bridge would help ensure the people of Katherine could access the link during the Wet. In partnership with the Commonwealth Government, were committed to improving the roads for Katherine road users this is part of $26 million investment, he said. The 2011 Budget also allocated $5 million to provide overtaking lanes along the Stuart Highway, between Darwin and Katherine.