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Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Page: 1123

Mining Industry

The PRESIDENT: Senator McMahon, a supplementary question.


Senator McMAHON (Northern Territory) (14:58): What is the gas potential of the Northern Territory? How will this important industry create more jobs in the Top End?


Senator CANAVAN (QueenslandMinister for Resources and Northern Australia and Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:58): People who are smarter than me have estimated that something like 178,000 petajoules of gas is potentially there in the Beetaloo Sub-basin. What does it mean? To lay people like myself and probably most of the people listening or watching at the moment, that means there is around 200 years of supply. Around 200 years of east coast supply is potentially there in the Beetaloo Sub-basin. It is a huge resource. Estimates are that there would be something in the order of 6,500 jobs. It would have a real income impact of $2.8 billion for the Northern Territory and around $9 billion for Australia as a whole. I want to play up here that it is not just the benefits to the Northern Territory. There are potentially liquids in the basin as well. We haven't really exploited a major liquid fuel basin since the Bass Strait in the 1960s. We have declining liquid fuel security. Opportunities like this are essential to help us secure our energy needs for Australia and secure the safety of our nation as well.

The PRESIDENT: Senator McMahon, a final supplementary question.



Senator McMAHON (Northern Territory) (14:59): What more can be done to meet Australia's long-term gas needs and reduce gas prices for Australian households and businesses?


Senator CANAVAN (QueenslandMinister for Resources and Northern Australia and Deputy Leader of The Nationals in the Senate) (14:59): The best thing that can be done is to get more supply. If we want to get energy prices down we have to get more supply of gas, electricity, or whatever the particular target may be, and that's what I'm focused on as resources minister, to increase supply of these resources. That is why the federal government has supported the development of the Beetaloo Basin with an $8.4 million investment to help facilitate the approvals and ongoing works there in that region. That's something we announced in the last few months.

We have also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Northern Territory government to make sure we work together in the development of this resource for the benefit of Australia. In particular, we would love to see not just the development of an oil and gas industry onshore in the Northern Territory but also the use of that oil and gas in places like Darwin, where there's enormous potential to grow a manufacturing industry, with the fantastic Asian-facing port they have there in the Northern Territory. It's a very exciting development and the federal government is working in lock step with Northern Territorians to see development in their interests.

Senator Cormann: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.