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Monday, 23 February 2009
Page: 1474

Mr RANDALL (8:27 PM) —I am pleased to speak on the Uranium Royalty (Northern Territory) Bill 2008. This bill is generally on unifying the mining royalty regime. It provides consistency for this industry in difficult financial times. As we have heard, presently uranium royalties are worked out on a case-by-case basis as a result of the Commonwealth-Territory arrangements in place at the time. This legislation will see government royalties set at 18 per cent. This is in line with other mineral royalty regimes in the Northern Territory. It will allow the industry to grow with certainty, and the coalition commenced these changes in 2005, led by a previous speaker this evening, the Hon. Ian Macfarlane. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Industry and Resources reported on this issue in 2006. The committee report was led by the chair, the former member for Forrest the Hon. Geoff Prosser, and it had some great recommendations.

Australia has one-third—some say even 40 per cent—of the world’s medium-cost uranium reserves and seven of the world’s 20 largest uranium deposits. The Ranger mine in the Northern Territory is the only one currently operating; however, this legislation will apply to Jabiluka as well. Uranium moves the world towards cutting emissions. If the world were not using nuclear power, CO2 emissions would be 2.5 billion—not million but billion—tonnes higher per year. Australia’s known uranium deposits have around two million tonnes of uranium oxide in ground resources. Currently Australia exports around 10,000 tonnes of uranium—in other words, yellowcake—a year, which puts $900 million into the domestic economy and saves 400 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. So on an annual basis the collective amount, as I said, to this date has been 2.5 billion tonnes.

Interestingly, the Labor Party have got a real problem with this, because they are so divided on it. They have been running their three-mines uranium policy for many years, which is the height of cant and hypocrisy. There are three mines in the policy: Olympic Dam and Beverley in South Australia and Ranger in the Northern Territory. In other words, as somebody said to me, uranium in the Northern Territory and in South Australia is okay, but in Western Australia it is bad. Alan Carpenter had this problem at the last state election. He thought that he could run some very clever ads saying—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. BC Scott)—Order! It being 8.30 pm, the debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 34. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting. The member for Canning will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.