Article – Northern Territory resources underused: Rinehart

2 May 2016
Neda Vanovac
The Australian

Giving a keynote speech at an invitation-only investors forum in Darwin today, the chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting joined the NT government in extolling the virtues of the jurisdiction to investors, many of whom were from Asia.

The chief minister travelled to China on a trade mission last week, as the NT strives to build its own relationships in the region and to secure private investment.

The $35 billion Japanese-run Inpex LNG project is winding down its construction phase and the NT is looking for other works to diversify the economy, such as agriculture and tourism.

It is also working to capitalise on the federal government’s focus on developing the north.

Ms Rinehart said that despite its considerable natural assets, the NT is under-utilised compared to the rest of Australia.

“(It) does indeed represent one of the world’s last great development opportunities of scale,” she said.

“It does this all within one of the world’s most highly developed countries on the doorsteps of flourishing Asia.”

She said Australia has experienced 25 years of uninterrupted growth with the NT at its heart, “which is rich with energy, agriculture, business and other industries, and has vibrant and growing communities but remains under-utilised relative to the rest of Australia, despite its natural, geographic and strategic assets.”

Oil and gas have been crucial to the NT economy, and Ms Rinehart said the jurisdiction has 200 trillion cubic feet of gas resources in its onshore basin, “potentially enough gas to power Australia for more than 200 years. Pretty special”.

How the mining industry develops will be a key factor to the outcome of the August NT election, with the Labor opposition proposing a moratorium on fracking amid community concerns about the practice, which the Country Liberals insist has been proven to be safe.

They are also looking at building a pipeline from the NT to the east coast of Australia to prop up the east coast’s potential gas shortfall.

Although Australia is at a low point in terms of demand for resources, the cyclical nature of the industry has been a constant, Ms Rinehart said.

“The raw materials that Australia has in abundance will always be critical to our growth … we should not forget their importance to the future,” she warned.

Courtesy of the Australian

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