NT told to ‘get frack­ing’

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Rural Weekly - MARK WILTON Mark.wilton@ru­ral­weekly.com.au

THE Prime Min­is­ter has taken a swipe at the North­ern Ter­ri­tory La­bor Govern­ment over its mora­to­rium on frack­ing. In Dar­win for the Coun­try Lib­er­als con­fer­ence last week­end, Mal­colm Turn­bull told the party faith­ful it was time for the ban to be lifted. He said the on­shore gas in­dus­try in the Ter­ri­tory could play an im­por­tant role in the en­ergy se­cu­rity needs for the en­tire coun­try.

“The Bee­taloo sub-basin is one of the most ex­cit­ing prospects to emerge in Aus­tralia in many years,” Mr Turn­bull said.

“This project has the po­ten­tial to make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to do­mes­tic gas needs as well as ex­ports.

“But what is needed now more than ever is for the North­ern Ter­ri­tory Govern­ment to re­move its mora­to­rium on de­vel­op­ment.” He said that un­lock­ing the po­ten­tial of the gas in­dus­try in the NT did not need to be at the ex­pense of pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment.

“The views of af­fected com­mu­ni­ties and the pro­tec­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment are vi­tal.

“I un­der­stand that La­bor is un­der­tak­ing a re­view of ex­trac­tion tech­niques but the an­swer is good en­gage­ment backed by sci­ence, not blan­ket bans.

“So, my mes­sage to Michael Gun­ner is - pull the trig­ger.

“Get on with it. Get on with it. The jobs, the in­vest­ment, the op­por­tu­ni­ties that come with open­ing up 180 years of gas that you’re sit­ting on is end­less,” Mr Turn­bull said.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s call was met with a curt re­sponse by North­ern Ter­ri­tory Chief Min­is­ter Michael Gun­ner.

In a state­ment Mr Gun­ner said the Prime Min­is­ter should stop us­ing “bul­ly­ing” tac­tics over gas and in­stead fo­cus on ad­dress­ing the loss of GST rev­enue the NT had suf­fered un­der the Turn­bull govern­ment. Mr Gun­ner said that the NT Govern­ment went to last year’s elec­tion with a firm com­mit­ment to un­der­take a re­view into frack­ing and to place a mora­to­rium on the in­dus­try at least un­til the re­view is fin­ished. The con­flict over frack­ing was the sec­ond time in two weeks that the Ter­ri­tory and Fed­eral Gov­ern­ments have clashed over is­sues sur­round­ing north­ern de­vel­op­ment. While mak­ing a “good” an­nounce­ment re­cently about $8 mil­lion in fund­ing for a high-tech biose­cu­rity hub to pro­tect the north in Dar­win, Deputy-Prime Min­is­ter Barn­aby Joyce said that staff from a sim­i­lar govern­ment fa­cil­ity in Vic­to­ria would move to Dar­win.

“This fa­cil­ity at Ber­rimah will help us re­place some of the work we are cur­rently do­ing at Gee­long,” Mr Joyce said.

“So we are mov­ing jobs and work from Mel­bourne to Dar­win.” How­ever, a few days later Mr Joyce back-tracked on that state­ment fol­low­ing a “shocked” re­ac­tion from staff at the Gee­long fa­cil­ity.

“We are ex­pand­ing jobs to be hap­pen­ing in Dar­win that oth­er­wise would be hap­pen­ing in Vic­to­ria. The Chief Min­is­ter Michael Gun­ner said he had sought clar­i­fi­ca­tion from Mr Joyce about the jobs is­sue.

The pol­i­tics aside, the new biose­cu­rity fa­cil­ity is a win for the North­ern Ter­ri­tory ac­cord­ing to Mr Joyce and Ter­ri­tory Min­is­ter for Pri­mary In­dus­try Ken Vowles.

“The new biose­cu­rity hub will be more than ten times PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED the size of the cur­rent fa­cil­ity and will house the lat­est tech­nol­ogy in molec­u­lar di­ag­nos­tics, a tech­nique to di­ag­nose and mon­i­tor dis­ease and de­tect risk,” Min­is­ter Joyce. “This sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment in biose­cu­rity in the north un­der the Agri­cul­tural Com­pet­i­tive­ness White Pa­per will sup­port faster test­ing of po­ten­tial biose­cu­rity threats as they emerge. “This in­cludes quickly sep­a­rat­ing lo­cal, some­times ben­e­fi­cial, in­sects from ex­otic fruit flies that could dev­as­tate our hor­ti­cul­ture ex­ports.”

GAS IN­DUS­TRY: Im­ages like this shale gas­field in Green River Basin, Wy­oming, in the United States is what the La­bor Govern­ment will be try­ing to en­sure doesn's hap­pen in the NT.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.