Developing the North: Feds pick up Territory proposals


Sir – The Federal Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia will deliver new economic and cultural opportunities for the nation’s fastest growing region.
The vast majority of the proposals raised by the Northern Territory through the White Paper development process had been picked up by the Australian Government.
I am particularly pleased that it places heavy emphasis on managing the opportunities of native title across Northern Australia. From the NT perspective, this is vital if we are to strengthen the economic rights of Aboriginal Territorians and create sustainable jobs.
The White Paper commits $110 million towards finalising all native title claims within 10 years and $20.4 million to assist native title holders in their negotiations with businesses.
This is great news for both Aboriginal people who are seeking a real economic future and business who want to pursue opportunities ranging from aquaculture to tourism on Aboriginal land.
The White Paper also provides $3.7 million to develop the Territory’s proposal for a more integrated approach to the development of projects across the north with the implementation of an Investment Projects Pipeline.
This would be a database for business and relevant government regulatory departments to track the stages and potential opportunities arising from significant projects.
I welcome the $600 million infrastructure package in the White Paper, particularly the identification of Central Australian roads like the Tanami Road and the Outback Way as roads critical to the development of the North. Funding for the Arnhem Highway will also open up new sources of economic activity, particularly through tourism.
I’m also pleased to see the Australian Government committing $5 million towards the corridor required to turn the Tennant Creek to Mt Isa railway into a reality. The Territory Government’s Budget committed $1 million to a feasibility study for this exciting new project and this funding will provide the opportunity to really drive this project forward.
The Territory Government welcomed the White Paper’s commitment to establish a “single point of entry” in Darwin to support investor interest.
This will complement the work already being undertaken by our existing Office of Northern Australian Development and is a sensible approach to ensuring the success of major infrastructure projects across the Territory.
I will be be pushing for the Territory to be the location of some components of the $75 million Co-operative Research Centre for the Development of Northern Australia.
With its initial focus on agriculture, food and tropical medicine, I’d expect the Australian Government would be amenable to house one of each of these components across the three jurisdictions involved.
There is great benefit in developing these intellectual resources right across the whole of the North – not just concentrating this vital research effort in one location.
I will be pushing for the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin to feature prominently in this research effort as it is an established leader in the tropical health area and well located to lead further efforts in this area.
Water infrastructure and management is vital for the development of the tropical areas of Australia and the White Paper supports a number of critical areas with substantial financial commitments.
The $200 million to build water infrastructure in the North will aid development in the decades to come.
I’m particularly pleased to see $5 million allocated for detailed examinations of the economic feasibility of the Ord Stage 3 on the border of Western Australia and the Territory.
The water needs of the growing Darwin region will also be supported with $5 million for investigations to determine available water and the best locations for water infrastructure.
The development of Northern Australia is now firmly on the nation’s economic, policy and political radar as a result of the White Paper.
We will capitalise on the momentum generated by the White Paper and make sure the story doesn’t end here. Its just the beginning of realising our true potential and the contribution we can make that will drive our nation’s economy for years to come.
Adam Giles (pictured)

Chief Minister


  1. All this spending but no industry or long term jobs. All Giles [wants] is spend Federal money to develop the north.
    We need industry.
    As for agriculture you will not be able to compete against other states. We already have an oversupply of food. As a farmer, the more you produce the less you receive.

  2. The transport infrastructure projects as identified are good news, all of them.
    The Tanami Highway has been crying out for an upgrade for years. The Outback Way is a national highway in the making. I don’t know about the Arnhem Highway, but the eventual rail link between My Isa and Tennant Creek is a natural.
    Who knows how much of this will actually get built and how much will just get studied and talked about, but at least some attention is being brought to some needed road work in the NT.

  3. Without including climate change adaptation into the planning framework for the North it is likely to result in a large amount of stranded assets in the decades to come.
    Not planning for rising seas, more intense rainfall episodes and storm cells, increased temperatures and a global constraint on carbon emissions is irresponsible at best.
    Have we not learned to measure progress based on the outcomes for all people and not just the people who directly make the money from this “progress”?
    Big concerns around cheap imported labor, real and lasting opportunities for indigenous people beyond selling out their native title and the environmental impacts of having a $5 billion fund to develop what the market will not.
    Some people are going to get really rich on this and the rest of us will continue on in the background.
    How will Central Australia’s knowledge economy benefit, including renewable energy technologies, water efficiency, approaches to land management and urban design.
    This is currently framed as foreign funded plunder rather than genuine development and progress. I hope that the proponents will focus on providing opportunities for people who already live in the north rather than providing opportunities for people to temporarily work here.

  4. Careful Jimmy your “Watermelon” credentials are showing!
    Instead of sitting on your proverbial making yourself even greener envying what others may or may not achieve by taking a risk and hard work, try doing something imaginative and productive yourself, who knows what you might achieve!
    As for the Climate Change fear mongering Jimmy you do your case no good at all, in fact you lose all credibility when you use grossly exaggerated unproven statements about all kinds of horrors we can expect if the World doesn’t immediately conform to the “back to the dark ages” mentality of the greens.
    Sure there is Climate Change, but what we can expect from that in the way of effects is almost completely unknown for instance we don’t know how much oceans will rise or even if indeed there will be a rise of any significance at all, there is even discussion among some scientists that we may be befitting from the extra warming caused by human activity the extra warmth actually keeping us from diving into a calamitous ice age!
    A very quick way indeed to bring about the extinctions you are so worried about!
    We do know Jimmy that when the globe warms top temperatures actually come down! Minimums go up, until there is almost no variation! Rain fall goes up! But not severity! The only increase in severity is as a result of more rainfall events.
    If you have two years rainfall in one year you are also likely to have two years severe events in one year!
    But it doesn’t sound scary enough like that, does it Jimmy!
    I am interested to note the growing association between religion and the politics of climate change, seems to be finding common ground more in keeping with its character, the regime of overstatement and fear mongering is more naturally aligned with hell and damnation preaching than it is with anything that could be even remotely be described as science.
    Science deals in proven facts! Your message Jimmy is more about the politics of envy using the fact free zone of global climate politics as a convenient vehicle to spread the same discredited agenda that ripped the world apart in the guise of Communism for the most part of the last century.
    Time to move on Jimmy take the “Great Leap Forward”! In that place we will deal with climate change in a calm measured and balanced way that will hopefully allow both the Earth and its population’s to survive long enough to get off the Planet before it is eventually wiped from existence sometime in the far distant future [hopefully]. In the meantime the world has to eat! The north of Australia has more landmass, more water than the southern half and a tropical / sub tropical climate, as such it has the potential for even greater production, be assured the demands of world population will force its use sooner rather than later.

  5. @ Steve Brown: You have absolutely no credibility on the issue of climate change or fracking for that matter.
    You either can’t tell the difference between the hydraulic stimulation of conventional gas wells at Mereenie and the horizontal slick water approach of modern day frackers, unless of course you are on a dis-information campaign. Just as you talk of an impending ice age and trivialise the impacts of global warming on humanity.
    Get real Steve. Growing food is about more than available land – it depends on the suitability of the land. The soils of the north are not as fertile as being suggested by proponents of this agenda. Plus the increased use of groundwater, agricultural inputs including fertilisers and pesticides will all impact on the health of our northern ecosystems.
    Sustainable economic development means providing opportunities for future generations. To deny the importance of climate modelling and adaptation planning into an agenda of this scale will defeat the purpose of doing it in the first place. Why not get it all right in the first place. Serious flaws in planning lead to disasters in implementation.
    Science is important. More than 97% of climate scientists agree that human-driven climate change is happening and will have severe consequences if the trend continues.
    Stop being irresponsible Steve. The issue of global food is as much about distribution as it is about production.
    Western societies are wasting up to 50% of all food produced.
    Let’s not open up the north so that more food can rot in landfills across Asia. Let’s not stuff up our groundwater and river systems for an unproven idea.

  6. Crikey Jimmy touched a nerve did I? Where did the fracking comment come from I wonder?
    Still as you’ve made it lets deal with it. There is no difference between horizontal and vertical fracking other than one is vertical the other horizontal.
    They are both achieved in the same way – hydraulically.
    Anti frackers reacted to the supposedly new term “hydraulic fracking”.
    I wasn’t predicting a looming ice age, just pointing out that we have absolutely no idea whatsoever one way or another.
    There are many things more frightening than global warming, an ice age is very definitely one of them!
    Ice ages mean “no food,” starvation in a very short time for all the beasties of the earth!
    I am really just suggesting a bit of calm rational though as opposed to the fanatical and most definitely fanciful propaganda you spit out with all the gusto of a zealot.
    There is plenty of reason for concern about some forms of fracking, in particular when it is used to extract coal seam gas as this is shallow and contained within the aquifers.
    There is also the use of chemicals to break down the coal to create gas, it’s a horrifying process and I am absolutely opposed to it. That however has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what is presently happening in the Territory!
    The horizontal fracking created by hydraulic pressure that you are so concerned about is taking place some 2000 meters below the aquifers!
    This type of fracking does not pose anywhere near the same kind of risk or outcomes that are happening with the coal seam gas in NSW and Queensland.
    I am aware that many people have the two confused. I am absolutely certain that you are also aware of this confusion but make no effort to correct the facts.
    As for land and soil suitability, Jimmy, you are joking aren’t you? I thought you were from a farming background! Talk about a lack of credibility! This is simply about space and water! We can grow just about anything anywhere!
    The Israelis grow oranges by the Dead Sea! The saltiest place on earth!
    Our soils are more than adequate. If you had been here longer than five minutes you’d know our local soils produce some of the best citrus in the country.
    As for pesticides and fertilisers, the issues are the same wherever you are, they have to be managed wherever you are.
    Finally, “climate modelling” is nothing but fanciful bullshit! We can’t predict the weather two weeks in advance and you have us planning ’round what might or might not happen years in advance.
    Yes, climate change is happening. Yes, people are more than likely at least partially responsible and, yes, I suppose we could have some effect on that by starving ourselves to death.
    You go first, Jimmy. I’ll let you know what happens.

  7. Great you’re an online publication, Alice Springs News. Federal Government staff and members will see, yet again, how Giles attempts to take credit for others work (including the Federal Government). What an embarrassment.

  8. @ Steve Brown
    You said: “We can grow just about anything anywhere! The Israelis grow oranges by the Dead Sea! The saltiest place on earth!”
    Correct, but if Jesus were to plunge into the Jordan River today, he might well injure himself! Go and have a look, I did!
    The great biblical waterway is now little more than a shallow, unimposing trickle of sludge, a murky body of water that is in danger of withering into nothingness.
    Quote: “There’s no water because Israel steals it all,” said Mohammed, a Bedouin goat herder who tends his brother’s flock in the parched Jordanian hills near Mount Nebo, where Moses is said to be buried. Peter Schwartzstein in the Middle East, National Geographic. End of Quote.

  9. I would have to agree with Evelyne Roullet as I have seen the effects of over-using water with vineyards pumping fresh water. They are stopping fresh water from running to the sea and reducing salinity. The sea water is being drawn inland and ruining fresh water.
    They have also grown bluegum trees and they have used all the water. If you want to see devastation live next to a paper mill. On an average day they us a million gallons of water. As for growing oranges you need to go to the Riverland and you will see mountains of oranges dumped. As for people staving we have an over supply of food already but it is not distributed properly.
    You need to go to Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and you will see farmers ploughing potatoes and tomatoes into the ground due to lack of demand.
    In the NT you still need to eradicate fruit fly. It was only a few years ago when the ABC film crew crashed at Lake Eyre. They were filming the devastation to the pelicans due to the floods in Queensland.
    The water contained chemicals from growing cotton. We have to be extremely careful with chemicals and try to keep them out of our food supply. As for people starving, some of the obese in Alice Springs could shed a few kilos.

  10. @ Evelyn: Interesting point I’m sure but nothing whatsoever to do with the conversation at hand, what’s commonly known as a “red herring,” I believe.
    @ Fred: Your comments are based on selfishness and ignorance, it’s hardly surprising you are not brave enough to use your name.
    While somebody that you judge as being obese is shedding a few kilos through starvation, what do you suppose will become of yourself given your apparently a skinny little thing?
    It astounds me that the likes of yourself and Jimmy quote United Nations propaganda on climate change, using it as proof substantiating lefty envenom theories, yet take not the slightest notice of what the same organisation has to say about world food security, preferring to remain blissfully ignorant and uncaring, taking the “I’m alright Jack” approach.
    We don’t just grow food to feed ourselves Fred we grow it to earn a living and to help feed the rest of the world! Something about which you either don’t care or clearly haven’t thought.
    Further, in exporting to other countries, we create wealth in return, which we then use to feed and provide services to the likes of yourself and Jimmy! The agricultural industry, Fred, also facilitates the establishment of other industries and is as sustainable and as long term as humanity itself! Without it we do not exist.
    As a final point, in the ice age scenario or, for that matter, prolonged drought or war – do you really suppose that the various peoples of the earth are going to forego their own sustenance to send it to a bunch of lazy procrastinators on the other side of the planet, who although gifted by nature with a wealth of food producing opportunity, have either been too lazy or to incompetent to get off their backsides and help themselves?
    Or do you think they’re going to let us lose weight?
    The same question could be asked by the rest of Australia really, you know the same ones who pay us a fortune in GST!
    Do you imagine they are just going to keep on doing that from now until eternity with nothing in return?
    Time to wake up. We’ve got a world to feed! Children to feed, educate and find Jobs for, obligations to fulfill, given that we, like everyone else, are actually part of the real world!
    Not another planet!

  11. @ Steve: I do not think that I am selfish, quite to the contrary. I have given thousands to charity, including the Children’s Hospital, Flying Doctor and helped people in devastating situations, such as fire.
    I also do not think that I am ignorant, as I had the best education, in the world, which is life.
    I am slim due to the hard work I do and do not receive sit down monies and never have.
    Some people could take the same philosophy and try to do some work for a change. I have worked very hard during my 70 years and am proud of myself.
    I have farmed for 60 years, growing beans, wheat, lambs, beef, hay and the list goes on. I have had the experience.
    Have exported my products all over the world. As for the “lazy procrastinators”, we already support them. It’s called foreign aid.
    In England, the farmers are paid by the government to plough their land and leave it, not to grow anything because of the surplus of food. This is the same in America. In South Australia’s Riverland, the government is buying the fruit blocks back, so they do not use the water from the River Murray. You should see the desiccation at Wakerie and Mildura because of no water usage.
    Argentina have more beef than Australia, but their problem is foot and mouth disease which they have not been able to get on top of.
    The real issue in Australia, is that farmers are not getting enough for their produce. They can produce a lot more, but financially not worth it as prices would crash.
    I enjoy your comments. Slim Fred.

  12. Jimmy, can I suggest you leave Fearless Fred and Steve to it, you have made your point well, nothing more to be gained.
    They seem to be keen to engage each other now. Seem to be evenly matched, I reckon.


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