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Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Page: 1122

Mining Industry

Senator McMAHON (Northern Territory) (14:56): My question is to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. Could the minister update the Senate on any recent developments that could deliver further development of the gas industry and support local communities by ensuring long-term gas supply?

Senator CANAVAN (QueenslandMinister for Resources and Northern Australia and Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:56): I thank Senator McMahon for that question and recognise her strong interest in seeing the Northern Territory develop. I know, as a regular traveller to the Territory, that it has been a difficult couple of years there, particularly in Darwin, with the wind-down of the very large INPEX project. The federal government are doing everything we can to bring new investment to the Northern Territory and more job opportunities there.

That's why it is great news that last week the Northern Territory government provided its first approvals for drilling in the Beetaloo Sub-basin, which is a part of the larger McArthur Basin. It is one of the most exciting resource opportunities in the nation. It is very exciting because it is Australia's first major shale, oil and gas project in Australia. Many of us would have seen the great opportunities that have been provided in the United States as a result of the development of their shale resources. We have not yet developed any major shale resources here in Australia, but this first one could be very exciting for our nation. Our geologists estimate that the Beetaloo Sub-basin is as big as the Permian Basin in Texas, which has underpinned their resource development. While there is still a lot of work to be done in exploring and assessing the quality of this resource, a lot of people are very excited.

It is great to see the Territory government doing that. It has great opportunities not just for the Northern Territory as a whole but also for local industries in this region, around that area and around the Daly Waters area. I caught up with the Northern Territory Cattlemen's Association this week, who I think are in the gallery today. I see Chris Nott from the NTCA. We will need to make sure that any investment that comes from this exploration also benefits that industry as well, in terms of better infrastructure, greater opportunities, more jobs, a greater critical mass in our Northern Territory and cheaper energy as well.