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

The two territories at opposite ends of car sales stats
All the more reason to bring back Canberra control! (Now, where’s the entrance to my bunker?)


Cattle company has win in live export ban case
Perhaps I’m reading more into this decision than is warranted but it occurs to me there is possibly a principle of law here which may have much wider application.
I’m thinking in terms of government policies and decisions that have an influence or impact on climate change without due regard to scientific advice.
Are there wider implications from this decision?
While this case may rest with the decision of the Federal Court if the Commonwealth Government opts not to appeal it, I can foresee a similar case being pursued in the High Court of Australia to resolve what degree of responsibility the Commonwealth (and, for that matter, the NT Government, which is a creature of Federal law) has in regard to abiding by professional, fully researched scientific advice.


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Surprised! (Posted June 1, 2020 at 7:25 am): Too timid to use your own name, and too dumb to get another person’s name right. No credibility in your comment.


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
@ Jack (Posted May 29, 2020 at 2:11 pm): Whatever amount of money “we” decide to “stump up” gives us no right or authority to dictate terms to Indigenous people on how or where their art and culture may be displayed for others.
What they decide might not cost as much as $50m; indeed, it’s the NT Government, not custodians and TOs, that “stumped up” that sum of money so it’s hypocritical to blame the latter.
And, if custodians and TOs decide they don’t want to go down this path at all, then the money becomes a moot point, doesn’t it?


Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
Basically, whether from the Labor or Country Liberals, the debate about the National Aboriginal Art Gallery, is all about cultural appropriation of Aboriginal art to suit the ambitions of politicians, bureaucrats and the business sector.
The entire process, subsequent to the steering committee report, has been (and continues to be) completely mishandled arse-about; surely it has to be resolved in the following manner:
1. Do the traditional custodians and owners of this region want or support the concept of a “national” art gallery, either on its own or as part of a cultural centre?
2. If they support this concept, where do they want it to be built?
The answers to these two basic questions would provide the guidance on whether this project is approved or not in the first place, and then (if approved) where it can be built.
It’s their art, their culture, so let’s allow the custodians and TOs to be the primary authority on this matter, and the rest of us to abide by their wishes accordingly.


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