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[Bringing Timor Sea gas onshore]

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Reports in today’s Northern Territory News that Labor does not support bringing gas Timor Sea gas onshore are incorrect.

I made our position clear in Darwin yesterday when I told Daryl Manzie on Top FM Radio that we had received a compelling brief from the Chief Minister and that I believed we needed a national energy policy to properly exploit these opportunities.

As I said yesterday:

…Part of the visit here has been a fact-finding exercise and I organised a briefing for the whole of my Shadow Cabinet by Clare Martin and her team. But again I say, and I’ve said this to Clare, I think I would dearly love to see the opportunity develop here.

Yesterday at its Darwin meeting, Labor’s Shadow Cabinet discussed the issue at length and established a taskforce to bring forward its formulation of a national energy policy.

In developing this policy, special attention will be paid to the linkage between the development of gas and its implications for Australian content in terms of local manufacturing industries, research and development and importantly for local employment.

Timor Sea gas could provide a major new energy source for Australia, as a complement to, or alternative to, PNG gas and coal seam methane.

If it were piped onshore to Darwin, gas from the Greater Sunrise Field in the Timor Sea could generate additional national income of $15 billion and create 4,400 ongoing jobs.

By contributing to a national gas grid, Sunrise could spur major value-adding projects in the Northern Territory and southern Australia.

Labor is heartened by the current reassessment of the onshore option by the Sunrise partners and urges them to make a commercial decision in favour of bringing the gas onshore.

Taskforce membership is

Craig Emerson Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Trade and Tourism Martin Ferguson Shadow Minister for Regional and Urban Development, Transport and Infrastructure Sen. Kerry O’Brien Shadow Minister for Primary Industries and Resources Kelvin Thomson Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage Joel Fitzgibbon Shadow Minister for Resources Gavan O’Connor Shadow Minister of Regional Services, Territories and

Local Government

Warren Snowdon Shadow Parliamentary Secretary Northern Australia and the Territories

Sydney 14 August 2002