@ 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

Student boarding funding restored – for now
Isn’t that something? A minister of the NT Government has listened to concerns about a government decision, and reversed it in a day.
Little aggravation, and great relief for many, I should think.
Minister Selena Uibo has set a fine example – now, if only certain others of her colleagues would take notice of public concern about the NT Government’s poor decision-making over the location of the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery…


Remains of missing man found near Yambah
@ John Bell (Posted September 20, 2018 at 10:21 pm): The skeleton was identified, a young man only recently arrived in Alice Springs in 1965. It’s believed he was a victim of an accidental discharge of his rifle, not a suicide.


Ring a bell?
Is it just me, or is it the case that the “Boundless Possible” embarrassment has suffered a swift death, consigned quietly to the wheelie bin of history?
Ah yes, a government elected into office that promised us all greater standards of honesty and accountability; but no, it’s just business as usual, that we’ve long endured for decades in the Northern Territory.
It really makes no difference who’s in charge.


Four dogs suspected poisoned with 1080
@ Ruth Weston (Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm): Sodium fluoroacetate is the commercially produced 1080 poison, and is closely related to potassium fluoroacetate, the poisonous chemical found in a wide variety of plant species.
Both chemicals have the same effect, disrupting the Krebs Cycle (or Citric Acid Cycle) which disrupts the ability of cells to metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy production.
It was biochemist Ray Murray, based in Alice Springs with the Animal Industry Branch from 1954 to 1966, who first identified the naturally occurring 1080-based compound that occurs sporadically in poison Gidgee (Acacia georginae) which plagued the beef cattle industry in the east of Central Australia and across the Queensland border.


Stagnant CBD; industrial land, rental shortage; houses hold
The photo caption “The ANZ Bank has relocated from this prime Todd Street North site, opposite the Visitor Centre, to Gregory Terrace” serves – perhaps inadvertently – to emphasise the “moving of deckchairs” in the CBD, as the Visitor Centre itself was relocated to its present site a few years ago from its former Gregory Terrace location adjacent to the Civic Centre … and that particular building, the former Queen Elizabeth II Infant Welfare Clinic, that was heavily modified and opened to great fanfare in 1997 as the new Visitor Centre, remains steadfastly vacant.
Aside from the shift of the ANZ Bank (which, incidentally, opened its doors on its former Parsons Street site in August 1962, exactly 56 years ago) and the recent Wicked Kneads shop on the opposite corner now up for sale, there has also been the closure recently of two nearby hairdresser businesses, too – one of which was for sale for a long time but obviously attracted no serious interest.
Just yesterday, walking along Gregory Terrace, I was shocked to see “For lease” notices plastering the windows of La Casalinga restaurant, a long-standing business in this town and even something of an institution.
This town has weathered significant economic downturns on previous occasions – the mid 1970s, the late 1980s and early 1990s – but I’ve never seen the relocation of so many businesses (the “shifting of deckchairs”) on such a scale as has been occurring in recent years. It’s quite a phenomenon.
This situation is concurrent with the only significant new developments – the Green Well Building in Bath Street and the multi-storey Supreme Court building in Parsons Street – being occupied by government departments and instrumentalities, to the detriment of existing commercial lease stock in town. These developments, along with the re-opening of Todd Street North to traffic again, have done nothing to arrest the decline of the CBD, notwithstanding all the hype and propaganda of government and the private sector arguing in support of them.
Recent history quite clearly shows that the proposed National Indigenous Art Gallery will prove NOT to be the economic nirvana for this town. Exactly the same rationale was given for the developments of the casino almost four decades ago, the major hotel developments in the 1980s and the Alice Springs Desert Park in the 1990s – clearly none of these institutions, either on their own or altogether, have assisted in averting the current decline of our town, and there is no reason or evidence to show that the gallery will prove to be any different.
On the contrary, it will be yet another expensive long-term burden for the taxpayer to bear.


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