Like virtually any contemporary issue in local media, the apparently …

Comment on Pipeline: Is Adam Giles loyal to NSW or the NT? by Alex Nelson.

Like virtually any contemporary issue in local media, the apparently imminent go-ahead of a gas pipeline from Central Australia to New South Wales (or to Mt Isa) isn’t new: “If Mereenie gas is hooked into the proposed Gidgea-Adelaide pipeline, it will mean a sound insurance against the South Australian field ever giving out.
“Other eyes are on Mereenie. It has already been suggested that gas be piped from the Centre to Sydney and Melbourne (what the NSW coalies will think of this is anybody’s guess), but the salient fact remains that in the Amadeus basin the Northern Territory has what could well become one of the great petroleum provinces of the world.
“In the interests of Northern development, therefore, 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”.
In light of the news of the major fertilizer manufacturer Incitec Pivot signing a heads-of-agreement deal with Central Petroleum to supply natural gas for ammonia fertilizer production should the pipeline to NSW proceed, it’s worth quoting the following: “For natural gas is not only a source of cheap power. It is a raw material from which fertilizers, plastics, and synthetic fibres are manufactured.
“A pipeline would give Darwin a manufacturing potential backed by heavy industries and, most important, provide fertilizers for a high rainfall region where the economic development of low fertility soils demands extensive use of fertilizers whose import costs are currently prohibitive”.
I could quote considerably more but I think the point of my observation is sufficiently made; however, what’s interesting here is the date of publication. I’ve quoted from an article entitled “South Australia’s premier has eye on NT gas producing potential” published in the Centralian Advocate on November 19, 1964 – exactly half a century ago.
Only two months later the ABC reported “a combine headed by a group of the major trading banks in Australia has agreed to underwrite the cost of constructing a gas pipeline from Central Australia to Sydney to the tune of £190,000,000”.
The crusading editor of the Centralian Advocate, the late Paddy Ethell, lamented: “But the Trading Banks and private enterprise have been quick to recognise the fact that Mereenie gas could be harnessed – and piped to Sydney. Is then, the doleful spectacle of the Northern Territory as a ‘hole in the ground for interstate interests’, to be repeated?” (February 4, 1965).
At a press conference in Alice Springs on December 14, 1964, the Minister for Territories, Charles Barnes, stated “the Government had no immediate plans for considering the use of Mereenie gas in developing industries in the Northern Territory” as “it would be uneconomical to construct a gas pipeline from Mereenie to Darwin … because he was hopeful that we’d find oil and probably gas in the Northern end”.
So exactly half a century later we find a Chief Minister of the Northern Territory who comes from New South Wales favouring the development of a gas pipeline from the Centre to NSW, with the first major customer a fertilizer manufacturer that would no doubt ship its product to the Top End to facilitate the development of agriculture and horticulture industries as part of the current push (yet again) to develop the North.
Of course, the gas pipeline from the Centre to Darwin was eventually built. The negotiations for its construction were finalised by Chief Minister Ian Tuxworth in December 1984, almost exactly 30 years ago. Tuxworth originally came from NSW!
It seems the spirit of this wide brown land is trying to tell us something …

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Former Anzac Hill High School: time to take stock
@ Evelyne Roullet (Posted October 18, 2019 at 2:58 pm): I wish you good luck, Evelyne, but this town and the Territory is not what it once was, and there are very few who have the courage to stand up for their principles and convictions.
Most of us wait for someone else to do it all.


The good and the bad of spending money we don’t have
Ah yes, that lovely deep underground car park for public servants next to the NT Legislative Assembly, on which I henceforth bestow the title of “Labor’s long-drop”.
All that’s required to top off this most worthy project is a ceiling and very large fan.


Thieves ram cars out of compound
This is the same building the NT Government has vacated as its former departmental offices but (I am informed) continues to pay rent for the empty space.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of Gregory Terrace and a short distance up is the public “asset” of the former Visitors Information Centre that has been abandoned, trashed and boarded up.
It’s all symptomatic of something seriously wrong with a Labor Government that three short years ago was elected overwhelmingly on the promise of being more honest and accountable.
The whole situation stinks to high hell.


Lame duck MLA, says Katherine voter
Bruce, you are a member of a vanishingly small vanguard of defenders of democracy. Keep up the good fight, you’re the rare sort of person that makes a genuinely positive difference.
We deserve a far better standard of representative government across the board but only if there is enough of us willing to take a stand.


Pine Gap: The link Alice has to Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds
I cannot help wondering if history is turning full circle – certainly too many of us in the West seem to be forgetful of the fundamental principles that are foundational to democratic societies.
As far as the United States is concerned, the preamble of The Declaration of Independence (probably the most influential document in history) is well worth contemplating: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
These words drafted by Thomas Jefferson nearly two-and-a-half centuries ago seem to resonate powerfully for our times.


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