This reminds me of development plans for a major coal …

Comment on CLP secretly signing Territory away, say Greens by Alex Nelson.

This reminds me of development plans for a major coal deposit at Lake Phillipson in the far north of South Australia being considered by the NT, SA and Commonwealth governments in 1980. It was seen at the time as being a potential major energy source for Darwin and Adelaide.
However, a report published in July 1980 pointed out some problems: “It is of lower energy content than NSW and Queensland steaming coal, the ash fuses at relatively low temperatures, the location is very remote, the coal seam lies in subterranean water.”
But there were also advantages: “The deposit is under a railway line. It is the best coal in South Australia and is likely to prove to be the cheapest domestic source of energy for South Australian power generation.
“The reserves are vast and could be developed on an extremely large scale. The coal may be amenable to gasification, liquification and solvent refining.”
During 1980 the NT Government was actively considering future energy options for the NT, seeking to end the Territory’s reliance for expensive imported crude oil for energy production in all the major towns.
With the construction of the Tarcoola to Alice Springs rail line nearing completion, attention was redirected towards a renewed campaign to construct the railway from Alice Springs to Darwin. The coal deposit in SA “under a railway line” was seen as a neat fit for economic justification of the long-awaited railway to Darwin.
In the 1980 NT election campaign, the CLP announced that a $400m coal-fired power station would be constructed in Darwin (ALP leader Jon Isaac’s proposal earlier that year for a gas pipeline from Central Australia to Darwin was roundly condemned as being impractical and unrealistic).
During the Federal election campaign later that same year the Fraser Coalition Government announced that it would proceed with the railway from Alice Springs to Darwin, much to the delight of Chief Minister Paul Everingham. Everything seemed to be falling into place.
However, Australia plunged into a deep economic recession and the Commonwealth dragged its heels on its rail commitment.
Both the Coalition and Labor promised during the Federal election campaign of early 1983 to proceed with the railway to Darwin; Labor under Bob Hawke won, and then proceeded with delaying tactics to renege on that promise.
The NT Government remained committed to a coal-fired power station until early 1984 but abruptly opted for a gas pipeline from the Centre. It was the Member for Braitling, Roger Vale, who successfully lobbied for the gas pipeline – although he had previously been Jon Isaac’s fiercest critic of the same idea in 1980.
The railway to Darwin finally became a reality 20 years later; and it comes as no surprise that mineral exploration and deposits once regarded as uneconomic in the remote areas of the inland are now perceived in a much more favourable light.
[Mr Vale was an ex-employee of the Magellan oil and gas company with a key role in the Mereenie – Palm Valley oil and gas fields.
The US company says on its website: “In 1960, Magellan acquired its first interests in the Amadeus basin in Australia. Following the discovery of gas at Mereenie and Palm Valley in the mid-1960s, these interests became Magellan’s core producing assets for the next five decades.”
Mr Vale assaulted me at the Alice Springs airport when I challenged him – by now a member of the NT Government – about not giving The Centre priority in the benefits from the Mereenie resources and consenting to exporting them from the region.
The stoush was filmed by the Seven TV network which screened it nation-wide, contributing to my unending national prominence (in a positive way), and not quite so positive in the case of Mr Vale – otherwise a very popular local politician, with whom I enjoyed a very pleasant professional relationship.
Erwin Chlanda, Editor]

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Australian flag stolen from Anzac Hill
Not for the first time –

Gunner demands council deal with Mayor’s ‘conflict of interest’
Damien Ryan is the third mayor of Alice Springs to stand as a candidate for a Territory election campaign, the two previous being Leslie Oldfield in 1990 and Fran Kilgariff in 2005.
Leslie Oldfield stood as an independent candidate for the seat of Braitling, against sitting CLP member Roger Vale – an interesting contrast to the current situation of CLP candidate Damien Ryan contesting Araluen against sitting independent member Robyn Lambley.
Lambley is a former CLP member, while Oldfield had once been Roger Vale’s electorate officer!
Fran Kilgariff stood as a Labor candidate for the seat of Greatorex, held by the CLP’s Dr Richard Lim.
The NT Government in 2005 was also Labor, under CM Clare Martin, predecessor as Member for Fannie Bay of current CM Michael Gunner.
Apparently NT Labor didn’t have a problem back in 2005 with the mayor of Alice Springs running as a Labor candidate; and it’s rather disingenuous of Labor now to argue differently about Damien Ryan standing for the CLP.
In 2005 I had a series of articles published in the Alice Springs News commenting about NT politics, in one of which I pointed out that no mayor in the NT who had run as a candidate for the NT Legislative Assembly had been successful; and I was virtually alone in my assertion that Fran Kilgariff would equally prove unsuccessful.
That situation still stands and, frankly, I think will remain the case after the NT elections later this year.

Trashing and rebuilding: “Investing” by NT Government
It should be recalled that the Henderson Labor Government had no problem repurposing the old high school, after Anzac Hill High School was closed at the end of 2009, as the Youth Hub which was a major part of its program for dealing with children and teenagers on the streets at night.
There was much protestation from Labor when the CLP shut down the Youth Hub after it won government in 2012.
The vacant site of the former high school is mute testimony to the bungling incompetence that has become the hallmark of the Gunner Labor Government.
The fate of that old school is the same that lies in wait for Labor in this year’s NT election campaign, for it is a government that truly deserves to be completely expunged from holding office.

Why not us?
And now it’s 20% chance tomorrow (Tuesday) rising to 70% chance on Thursday (with “possible storm, heavy falls” according to the BOM) declining to 40% chance by Sunday.
I’m making preparations, accordingly.

Party full throttle in battle against fracking
It’s time to end our reliance on the notion of political parties.
What we need in our parliaments and assemblies are elected individuals of integrity and competence, who can negotiate and cooperate with one another to provide the best standard of governance for all.
The evidence built up over many years demonstrates that political parties cannot be relied upon for the provision of good government.
They may start off well intentioned but inevitably end up being captured by powerful vested interests that equate their own aims to the public good.
I think it’s well overdue that another approach towards government and administration is given serious consideration.

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Erwin Chlanda, Editor