Article – Northern Australia: Housing, mining top agenda as teenagers share perspective on NT development

24 May 2014
Mark Di Stefano
ABC News
Teenagers from the Northern Territory have expressed negative views about living “down south” amid fears for the future of the mining sector in the Top End.
The 16- and 17-year-olds were brought together by the ABC to discuss the issues surrounding the Northern Australia White Paper as Federal Parliament’s joint select committee holds public hearings in the Territory.
Gary Higgie from Taminmin College pointed to the mining boom as a big issue important to the Northern Territory.
“It has its benefits, but when the mining boom ends, where are people going to go? Who are people going to rely on?” he said.
“They won’t need as many people as they do now. Once the mining boom ends it’s going to be very difficult for Territorians.”
Jordan Johnson from Kormilda College also expressed concerns about a possible downturn.
“I was living in Nhulunbuy a couple of years ago and recently that mine has shut down,” he said.
“I’m thinking some of the other mines in the Northern Territory are going to shut down too.”
Housing was another issue that dominated the conversation, with the panel saying high rents encourage them to stay at home, living with their parents.
Saurav Kundu from Darwin High School said young people were aware of the high cost of housing in Darwin and Palmerston.
He does not feel there is a rush to leave his parents’ house.
“My friend Marnie, whose grandmother is moving to Cairns – for $300,000, I think, she can get a three-bedroom apartment, whereas here it’s $700,000,” he said.
“At the moment buying a house would not be the main priority – I’ll just live off my parents for a while. I think the housing is a bit too pricey.”
Despite concerns about the cost of living, the teenagers say the Territory’s lifestyle has a unique appeal.
Noonamah distance education student Augustine Thorbjornsen said he would rather not live in Sydney or Melbourne.
“I don’t like the big buildings where it’s all crowded and noise everywhere. Country, mate, it’s the best,” he said.
Courtesy of ABC News