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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10134

Mr SNOWDON (Lingiari) (16:07): Earlier this month the Northern Territory government reached a key project agreement with Seafarms to develop one of the world's largest aquaculture projects. Project Sea Dragon is a $1.45 billion prawn aquaculture project and will see the development of up to 10,000 hectares of land for black tiger prawn production facilities. It's the largest of its kind in Australia and one of the largest in the world. When fully operational it will create 1,500 jobs. Seafarms Group Ltd is an Australian agri-food company which operates, builds and invests in sustainable aquaculture production platforms producing high-quality seafood. Seafarms is currently Australia's largest producer of farmed prawns. The company is one of Australia's largest aquaculture enterprises.

The project's success also depends on the welcome collaboration and support of the Northern Territory, Western Australian and Commonwealth governments. However, the outcome could only have been achieved with the support of Aboriginal people in the region through the signing of an Indigenous land use agreement, an ILUA, between the traditional owners and Seafarms for the development of the project at the remote Lagoon cattle station in the Northern Territory, in the VRD region, very close to the Western Australia border. The support of native title holders is a foundation on which the successful project can be established and is a sign of what can be achieved when parties negotiate in good faith.

This project provides benefits and support for native title holders to manage country while developing major economic activity in the region, providing jobs, training and, importantly, protection of sites and the environment. This project has the potential to transform the Ord region of northern Australia, which straddles the Western Australian-Northern Territory border. The finalisation of the project with the Northern Territory government sees Seafarms Group Ltd commit to establishing a headquarters for Project Sea Dragon in Darwin and the relocation of the ASX registered office to Darwin. Agribusiness is identified as a growth sector for the Northern Territory economy and is estimated to contribute over $600 million to the economy annually.

This project has the potential to provide a huge boost. At full scale the project has the potential to create a $19 billion uplift to the Territory's gross state product over the first 15 years of operation. The project will create local business and job opportunities with Seafarms as partners with industry capability networks in the Northern Territory to ensure all contract opportunities will be made publicly available and give locals a real go. Pending a successful financial close and the regulatory obligations being met, the Northern Territory government has committed to infrastructure expenditure of $40 million to upgrade Gunn Point Road, $15 million for road access to Point Ceylon on Bynoe Harbour and $17.5 million to upgrade the Keep River Plains Road. The federal government has committed $40 million and the Western Australian government $16.7 million.

This project at full-scale has the potential to create 1,500 ongoing jobs—1,000 located in the Northern Territory, with 700 at Legune and 300 at the Darwin-based hatchery and breeding facilities, along with the main office in Darwin.