Parliamentary record : Part I debates (25 May 1988)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 25 May 1988 He did not bring us anything on that and, because of that, I think this is just a furphy. It is just something that he has thrown in and it ranks with proposals on kenaf, American bases and the rest. Of course, the other point that will be made is that there would be very few spin-off benefits from the construction of such plants. Even with technological transfer, they would have to be manufactured overseas and assembled here by foreign engineers. Mr Speaker, I would like to talk for a few minutes on another aspect of what the minister is proposing. In talking about an open-go policy, he has to realise that there are political considerations. I doubt that any member of this House would deny that Roxby Downs got the go-ahead for political reasons. It got the go-ahead because of the ALP's desire to win an election in South Australia. It was a case of political pragmatism. We are talking about something worth $250m a year to the Northern Territory so we cannot afford to get things wrong. If ALP policy changes and the federal government decides to allow 1 new mine, it could well say that South Australia has 1, the Northern Territory has 2, so the next mine should be in Western Australia. Given that we have a CLP government, we do not have a great deal going for us when pressing our case and that is what it all comes down to. There is a bright side to the 3-mines policy which we have to take on board. I understand the problems with the 3-mines policy and its likeness to being a 'little bit pregnant'. There is a possibility, within that policy Mr Hatton: Do you support uranium mining or not? Mr EDE: have said that! If you had been here you would have heard me. Mr Hatton: I have been here since you started speaking. You are waffling so much that I cannot follow you. Mr EDE: Mr Speaker, the Chief Minister had better not contribute to this debate because he obviously has not been listening. If the 3-mines policy remains, there are more positive benefits for the Northern Territory than if additional mines were approved interstate. Ranger Uranium has the capacity to increase its production by another 2900 t per year. Roxby Downs can increase its production by 4000 t, a total of 6900 t. If Nabarlek does not go into production again, there would be a reduction of 1500 t, giving an additional 5400 t per year which can be produced in Australia under the 3-mines policy. That additional 2900 t per year at Ranger would be worth $245m a year in exports. It has to be recognised that, if a fourth mine were to be opened, there would be less demand for the Ranger output. If an extra mine goes ahead in Western Australia, New South Wales or Queensland, and takes up the extra capacity, we will lose $245m. That is a rea 1 danger. Frankly, the chances of the federal Labor government opening up a whole range of new mines are virtually zero. I do not believe that it will happen, certainly not in the next 2 years. I believe that is the political reality and I am trying to help this government to understand what it is dealing with. If the Territory government does not get it right, it risks losing $245m per year from the Northern Territory economy. It must think before it proceeds. Mr Speaker, I have made my point and I hope that the minister, who is sitting in the gallery, will take it on board. I am not saying that the 3300
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