North Australia Digest – 8/11/12

The Australian
Economics Editor David Uren points out the length of the mining boom will be decided by the industry’s ongoing competitiveness. Despite the huge possibilities for major investment in LNG in Australia, investors would need to be convinced that projects can be brought in on time and on budget, and the evidence on that, Uren argues, “is not  good.”
Despite pressure from her back bench, Julia Gillard is expected to stand by the live-export industry. Labor MPs Steve Georganas and Darren Cheeseman have joined the call to scrap the trade after images aired on Four Corners this week showed thousands of animals being culled.
Buru Energy’s attempt to develop Australia’s most promising onshore oil and gas region has received a major boost after a deal was struck with the West Australian government to build a $500 million pipeline to connect the Kimberley site with the domestic gas network in the Pilbara. WA’s controversial gas reservation plan, which ensures 15 per cent of gas from new projects is quarantined for domestic use, has been applied to the project.
Western Australia’s peak business lobby group has joined the State’s Labor party in attacking the Barnett government’s decision not to abolish its powerful potato regulator. The regulation of WA’s biggest vegetable crop has caused much debate in recent weeks after allegations of fraud.
Clive Palmer’s Waratah Coal has been accused of breaking indigenous heritage laws at one of its burgeoning coal mines in the Galilee Basin – with both roads and camps being built without consultation of indigenous groups.
The Australian Financial Review
Workers from Australian’s eastern states are reluctant to move to WA – particularly key mining areas – as it feels like a foreign country. A survey by Edith Cowan University also found the lack of infrastructure, high costs, and geographic and social isolation acted as major deterents to moving west.
The federal Coalition will submit the government’s Minerals Resources Rent Tax to the new Parliamentary Budget Office – indicating the role the new agency could play in debate’s over the government’s projected budget surplus.
West Australian
The labour shortages that have threatened to stall WA’s growth are finally easing according to figures released from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Revised figures for the shortfall in 2020 have dropped from 222,000 to 180,000.
WA’s biggest dairy enterprise looks to be the target of several major Asian companies – a sign of increasing demand for Australia’s agricultural assets.
The NT News
Darwin and Palmerston house prices have jumped 8.2 per cent over the past year, the fastest growing in the country. Perth was next highest – growing at 4.4 per cent – according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
A marine supply base could be built on the Tiwi Islands under plans proposed by an international marine logistics company.