Security boost for visit
Countdown to historic Darwin trip by Japanese PM
SECURITY in Darwin will be beefed up next week during the historic visit by Japanese leader Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The two will be in Darwin for a first gas production celebration for the $50 billion Inpex project before both fly to Port Moresby for the APEC meeting of regional leaders.
It will be the first visit by a Japanese leader to Darwin and some 75 years after Japan’s imperial forces bombed Darwin.
It is understood advance security officers have already been scoping out Darwin, the venues where functions will be held and the routes the leaders will be travelling.
A large entourage of national and international media and officials will also be in Darwin for the Inpex event. With the $54 billion Ichthys project now complete, Inpex chief executive Takayuki Ueda said the company was now “very interested” in exploiting the Territory’s onshore gas reserves.
Next week’s Inpex program includes an official opening and inspection of the Ichthys LNG onshore processing plant and the signing of a significant agreement between Inpex and the Larrakia Aboriginal people. The agreement is estimated to provide a package of benefits to Larrakia people for 40 years to come.
The Friday official opening will be followed by a Ichthys LNG Project VIP celebration dinner event at the Darwin Convention Centre.
Japan’s Prime Minister Abe and Australian Prime Minister Morrison are expected to make short speeches.
It is also hoped Mr Morrison will use the visit to announce the long-awaited $100 million cities deal and whether or not his Coalition Government will provide funding to help with the Jabiru masterplan and the reinvigoration of Kakadu National Park. The NT News has been running a campaign to save Jabiru and the town is hoping the PM is listening to their pleas for help.
Mr Morrison will also address the Darwin business community at a Friday Chamber of Commerce NT lunch.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner is upbeat about the visit.
“This is an incredibly important visit from one of our most significant regional neighbours,” he said.