The CLP has reaffirmed its support for fracking and an onshore gas indusry in the NT.
The policy announcement comes on the back of the surprise policy backflip by Territory Alliance, which now opposes fracking.
A Country Liberal Government will categorically support and grow a safe onshore gas industry to drive jobs, investment and create a new manufacturing industry in the Territory, Opposition leader Lia Finocchiaro said today.
The Gunner Labor Government also supports development of the industry.
"Onshore gas production has been ongoing for 50 years in the Northern Territory and a Country Liberal Government will see that continue strongly into a future where it will create more jobs and attract more investment," Mrs Finocchiaro said.
The Scientific Inquiry into Hydraulic Fracturing in the Northern Territory found a commercial onshore gas industry could create 13,600 jobs and generate $3.7 billion in tax revenue, while over $400 million has already been spent on exploration in the Beetaloo, creating jobs and income for Territory businesses.
Onshore gas development is not a single major project and cannot be linked to other 'boom and bust' type investments.
Onshore gas, particularly in the Beetaloo presents a long term, multi-decade staged investment of growth and opportunity that leverages new industries other than just the gas itself. Gas should be seen as an economic enabler that cannot be discounted.
A new Country Liberal Government will:
Task the new Independent Office of the Territory Coordinator to:
(1) Oversee construction of critical infrastructure necessary to facilitating a commercial onshore gas industry in the Territory, including the construction of a privately funded gas pipeline from Tennant Creek to Darwin as well as roads and telecommunication services.
(2) Coordinate work across government agencies to ensure that the 135 Inquiry Recommendations, including Strategic Regional Baseline Assessments (SREBAs), are accomplished in an efficient and timely manner to ensure production is safe and begins as soon as possible.
(3) Facilitate the timely approval of exploration and production licences.
(4) Facilitate consultation with Land Councils, pastoralists and other land owners and stakeholders to ensure any concerns over onshore gas activities are dealt with proactively and resolved.
Simplify the Petroleum Royalty regime and bring the Territory in line with other Australian jurisdictions and best global practice by retaining the current ad valorem rate of 10 per cent at the wellhead rate, while standardising the determination of gross value in consultation with industry and removing the process of individual producers negotiating deals which creates uncertainty, administrative cost and delay.
Set aside a percentage of the royalties paid by commercial producers to create a 'Territory Future Fund' for the benefit of all Territorians.
Support and promote the creation of a complimentary manufacturing industry in the Territory intended to utilise locally sourced gas resources, for both energy and as a production material.
Encourage local employment in the onshore gas and related industries by funding the upskilling of Territorians to fill essential positions and work with our university and trade schools to be providing pathways to the jobs of the future.
Accelerate methods to reduce and offset carbon emissions, including carbon sequestration and carbon-farming.
An International Energy Agency (IEA) report published last month stated the long-term demand remains strong, while the Moody's credit report issued in late May found onshore gas provides the best hope for increasing own source revenue and provide future economic stimulus.
Earlier this year the CSIRO concluded a comprehensive 3-year study into the onshore gas industry and essentially found no impact on air quality, soils, groundwater and waterways. Other reviews have made similar conclusions.
"Natural gas is a critical input for industrial manufacturing and hundreds of products are produced utilising gas as an input. This could represent a game-changer that secures the economic future of the Territory and we should work hard to have the right regulatory conditions to make it happen," Mrs Finocchiaro said.
"Pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, feedstock and hundreds of additional products are all produced using natural gas. Everything from air mattresses to yarn is made using natural gas. Boats, cameras, detergent, electrical tape, fertilisers, glue, hand lotion, ink, luggage, motorcycle helmets, nylon rope, paint brushes, roofing, shampoo and many, many other products are all made using natural gas.
"There is an exciting opportunity for the Territory to be the base of manufacturing for these products, but that requires a reliable and low-cost supply of natural gas that we can unlock.
"Furthermore, the sale of the Territory's natural gas will help cut carbon emissions nationally and around the world while tax revenue can be used to invest in renewables and carbon offsets, providing additional benefits.
"There are also exciting opportunities in exporting our gas to the rest of the nation and the world, and have it support the creation of a future renewable and hydrogen energy industry.
"The CLP is the only option for Territory voters who want to see the employment and economic opportunities from the gas industry. Territory Alliance has shut the door on gas and the Gunner Government cannot be trusted to support the industry's growth," Mrs Finocchiaro said.
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