Territory Stories

Debates and Questions - Day 3 - 6 May 2021



Debates and Questions - Day 3 - 6 May 2021

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Parliamentary Record 6


Debates and Questions for 14th Assembly 2020 -; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 14th Assembly 2020 -






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Debates and Questions

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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Debates and Questions Thursday 6 May 2021 Meeting No 19 1548 There is also capacity for a local processing facility which could add hundreds more jobs. The mine is located 200 kilometres south east of Tennant Creek and 300 kilometres north east of Alice Springs, meaning the benefit to both communities will be immense. With a projected mine life of over 25 years, the project could be a game-changer in the Central Desert. Last week the Coalition government recognised the significance of two proposed mines in the Territory: the TNG Mount Peake vanadium-titanium-iron mine; and the Core Lithium Finniss project. Both of these also have been granted federal major project status, hopefully getting them off the ground after years of approval delays and red tape which held them back. The Core Lithium Finniss project is extremely exciting with the growing demand for lithium around the world for batteries to power everything from vehicles to mobile phones. The project will support at least 360 jobs during construction and 250 ongoing in the Darwin area. Estimates suggest that the mine will have a 10-year life which could be extended, meaning that it will be a significant contributor to the Top End economy for years to come. Similarly, the Mount Peake project alone, which will include a mine and a concentrate plant, will contribute 1,700 jobs during construction and 600 operational jobs on an ongoing basis. The mine will be located 235 kilometres north-northwest of Alice Springs with a concentrate plant located at Middle Arm in Darwin. With such a wide geographical footprint, the mine and plant will have a significant economic impact across the Territory. However, approvals for this project have been pending since September 2013that is over seven years. The process of gaining the approvals for the game-changing process has been described by the company as lengthy and arduous. We need to do better. We need to get more mines up and running right now. There are currently seven mines on the Northern Territory major projects list, including Verdants Ammaroo project and the TNG Mount Peake project. Taken together, these projects represent more than 5,500 potential jobs. They also represent billions of dollars in capital investment and many millions in royalties to the Northern Territory Government. However, all these projects have been on the list for years while they await the necessary approvalsall that before they can even seek or obtain the massive amounts of finance needed to bring the projects to fruition. It is no secret that the major projects system is broken and everyone from industry to the governments own trusted advisers have been pushing for change for years to no avail. The government has not acted on these recommendations but that is precisely why the opposition introduced the Territory Coordinator Bill 2020 which we have debated to advance projects of economic significance, attract and facilitate investment and cut through the red tape and approvals roadblocks. Langoulants final report in March 2019 specifically recommended that the current major projects process be reformed to expedite and improve the efficiency of project approvals. The Langoulant Report also recommended the creation of an office of investment attraction, which is similar to the Territory coordinator role proposed by the opposition. The governments own TERC report went further, stating: To accelerate investment delivery for major private investment, including major projects, a single point of coordination should be established the Investment and Major Projects Commissioner (IMPC). The TERC went on to state that the commissioner should have the ability to direct prioritisation of resources and decisions. It sounds a lot like the Territory coordinator. The opposition agrees that we need an independent office to facilitate investment, and we can only hope that those opposite finally accept the recommendations of their own Langoulant and TERC reports. Simply taking steps to attract investment alone is not enough; businesses must have confidence they will be treated fairly. Even after the lengthy and arduous approvals process is completed, investors in a mining project need to have confidence that the government of the day will not actively take steps to change the rules, increase the cost of doing business or impose restrictions that will negatively impact a project. This bill sends the message that when it comes to the Northern Territory Government, anything can happen at any time and without consultation. It sends the more disturbing message that even if you challenge a government determination in the court and prevail, the rug can still be pulled out from underneath you.