PM IN THE NT TO START GAS FIRE
PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has a simple message for the Gunner Labor Government regarding onshore gas development in the Territory: “Get on with it”.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Territorian yesterday, Mr Turnbull said “Australia needs more gas, the Territory needs more gas and the NT needs more jobs”.
“(Michael Gunner) dragging his feet over the development of big onshore gas resources is letting down the Territory and the nation,” he said. Mr Turnbull said developing the Territory’s onshore gas industry was crucial for Australia and the NT’s future as it would generate thousands of jobs.
“If you’ve got cheaper gas and affordable energy you will attract business,” Mr Turnbull told the Sunday
Territorian. “You’ve got so much going for you in the Northern Territory. You are right here on the doorstep of Asia, surely what you want to have is as much cheap energy as you can get.
“You’ve got a big opportunity here in the NT.”
Mr Turnbull said concerns about fracking were largely unfounded. “It’s being used right around the world. The concern about fracking is that you will impact on the water tables and water resources to the detriment of the environment or the cattle industry here in the NT so you have to make sure it doesn’t do that,” he said.
“The bottom line is as long as you’ve got the geological and engineering work done properly you can do it without impacting the water table being used by others.”
The Prime Minister said there was huge unmet demand for gas in Australia.
“If you look at what’s driven America’s manufacturing resurgence it has been cheaper gas,” Mr Turnbull said.
“The NT has a huge opportunity with developing the Beetalo Basin and ... the time has come to get on with it. It’s in the Territory’s interest and it’s in the national interest.”
Mr Turnbull made a flying visit to Darwin to deliver a speech to party members at the CLP's annual conference yesterday.
In front of a friendly crowd, Mr Turnbull said: “We know that overseas investors and joint venture partners are keen to team up with local companies to explore and develop the Top End’s mineral and gas resources.”
“Businesses want to invest but to do so they need policies that enable exploration and development; favourable policies that will deliver investment, jobs and even more opportunities to the people of the North.”
Mr Turnbull kept his focus on energy and away from other hot button issues in the NT including GST redistribution and federal investment in developing the north initiatives.
He touched briefly on the party’s embarrassing electoral wipe-out in the NT last year, and said he was confident the party would be “back bigger and better than ever” by the 2020 election.
A review cataloguing the CLP’s own goals presented to its executive last week recommended the party “reinvent” itself while remaining independent of the Liberal and National parties to win back trust.
The NT Government imposed a moratorium on fracking for onshore gas after it won last year’s election.
An interim report into an inquiry held into fracking in the NT was handed down in July. A final report is expected to be handed to the government later this year, which will help determine whether or not the moratorium will be lifted.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull with CLP president Shane Stone during yesterday’s party function