@ Mark Fraser (Posted April 30, 2018 at 8:58 am): …

Comment on Will gas royalties save the NT? Read the fine print. by Alex Nelson.

@ Mark Fraser (Posted April 30, 2018 at 8:58 am): Your comments ring a bell.
Consider these quotes: “In the interests of Northern development, it seems vital that gas from Mereenie should first be utilised to exploit the astonishing industrial potential of the Territory only awaiting the advent of cheap power, before any interstate claims on the gas are recognised.
“No company would be prepared to undertake the cost of full exploitation of such a vast field of natural gas without some assurance of a long range and continuous demand. This demand exists – within the Northern Territory.
“The provision of cheap power through the Northern Territory must result in rapid development. And besides bringing large-scale mining operations into early production, a pipeline from Mereenie could well transform Darwin from a ‘Public Service Town’ into a thriving manufacturing centre for South-east Asian markets.
“For natural gas is not only a source of cheap power. It is a raw material from which fertilisers, plastics and synthetic fibres are manufactured.
“A pipeline would give Darwin a manufacturing potential backed by heavy industries and, most important, provide fertilisers for a high rainfall region where the economic development of low fertility soils demands extensive use of fertilisers whose import costs are prohibitively expensive.
“Above all, it would mean cheaper power and low-cost domestic gas for the man in the street, and produce an agricultural as well as an industrial revolution in the Northern Territory from Alice Springs to Darwin – and beyond.
“And now is the time for long-range, constructive planning to decide how this tremendous reservoir of natural gas could best be utilised in the rapid development of the North. It can be done.”
Thus wrote local editor Paddy Ethell in November 1964, the year following the discovery of natural gas reserves in Central Australia.
Of course, 20 years later construction of the gas pipeline from Mereenie to Darwin did commence, and the project was completed in 1987. How was the Territory’s future envisioned 30 years ago?
“The Amadeus Basin to Darwin natural gas pipeline was the first chapter in the Territory’s unfolding energy story, Chief Minister Steve Hatton said last week.
“Mr Hatton was speaking at an official unveiling ceremony in Darwin to commemorate the completion of the pipeline. He told about 400 guests at the Darwin City Gate Gas Station the Territory was shedding the energy shackles of the past and stepping into a high-tech, gas-powered future.
“The use of gas would enable electricity costs to be stabilised and more flexible pricing arrangements to be introduced. Predictable pricing will allow energy-intensive industries to plan for the future, Mr Hatton said.
“An assured and realistic supply of energy will mean that the Territory will be able to produce manufactured goods at a competitive price and fulfil yet another of its ambitions – to become a major trading partner in South-East Asia.”
History clearly shows that, when it comes to natural gas exploitation, the rhetoric far exceeds the reality; and there is good reason to be wary of contemporary visions of great promise from the mining and energy sectors.
Shauna Mounsey is clearly well-grounded as evinced by her excellent article, and I appreciate her viewpoint very much.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Centre of attention: Glory days of Anzac Oval in the 1950s
@ Peter Bassett (Posted February 19, 2019 at 7:33 pm): Appreciate your comment, especially about the old high school, Peter.
Contrary to what has been reported in the some media, the old school building is a very well constructed building with enormous inherent heritage value.
There has been – and is – a deliberately false and misleading campaign initiated by the NT Government, amplified by vested interests through a complicit and compliant print media, to denigrate the worth and value of that old education complex.


From mud, dust to grass: The beginning of Anzac Oval
@ Dr Ongo (Posted February 14, 2019 at 8:08 pm): You raise an interesting point; however, your observation applies equally well to other listed heritage sites, eg. such places as the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, Alice Springs Heritage Precinct (including Stuart Park, old hospital, old Alice Springs Gaol, and several houses in Hartley and Bath streets), and the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct.
There are histories, stories or law applicable to all of these places since time immemorial but other than to acknowledge previous Aboriginal occupation or use of such sites, I’m not qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment about them.
In regard to “untyeye that once grew there” at the Anzac Oval site (referring to corkwood trees – Hakea divaricata), only one still survives just inside the boundary near the Senior Citizens Club. It’s the same tree on the right of the photo, framing the new school, taken by Prue Crouch’s father in the early 1950s.
The heritage statement for the nomination of Anzac Oval does state: “The Anzac Oval Precinct contains several sacred sites.”
Thanks for your comment.

 

Corkwood


Home owner bonus: New build sector bleak, says CLP
The situation generally in the Northern Territory is giving every indication that it’s rapidly spiralling out of control.
I suspect the NT Government’s reactions are too little, too late; and this latest scheme will likely end up being home owner bogus rather than bonus.


West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
Such a shame, Steve, that we’re unable to harness your sprays to put the wildfires out.


Government fails to protect major tourism asset
My recollection is that the major wildfire years in the earliest period of this century were 2002-03, and again in 2011. Both of those periods closely followed years of exceptionally high rainfall (2000-01 and 2010 respectively).
This isn’t unusual in itself – there were significant wildfire years in 1968 (following the breaking of the drought in 1966) and in 1975 (following 1973-4, the wettest period on record in Alice Springs).
What’s different now is that this major wildfire event has occurred after a very dry year, with a record set at Alice Springs in 2018 for the longest period without rain being recorded, although (as I recall) this wasn’t the case further west of town.
In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel west and east of Alice Springs a number of times and also to fly frequently to Darwin and back with clear views of the area around town.
The clear impression I’ve gained on every trip is the extent and dominance of the spread of buffel grass in the ranges.
It’s like a blanket hugging the ground as far as the eye can see. It’s spread is overwhelming, and the ecology of this region is forever changed.
There are often comments about the need for protecting Alice Springs from major floods but that’s the least of our worries.
It is major wildfire that poses the most serious risk to our town, and the recent disaster in the West Macs demonstrates this risk can occur at any time.


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