Anti-fracking rally in Alice Springs this morning.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – It’s amazing how generous some of our politicians can be with public money at times. This is particularly the case of course when a government is facing the prospect of a huge election defeat.
In his latest effort to support gas mining in the NT by the controversial fracking process, Adam Giles has sunk to a new low, with his talk of introducing reward vouchers for students. This is part of his ‘Knowledge Territory’ initiative aimed at increasing the knowledge and training of young Territorians.
Using royalty money from the gas mining industry, the CM proposes to introduce vouchers of $1,000 per student per annum increasing to $1,500 as royalty revenue increases.
No-one should decry a Government spending public funds on education but the announcement of this scheme several months before an election at a time when the Country Liberals are trailing behind Labor is blatant bribery by an administration endeavouring to gain support for an extremely unpopular policy.
The CM has based his calculations on 15,000 students and royalty revenue of $15m per annum increasing to $22.5m as revenue increases, hence it is clear that all gas mining royalty revenue will be used to fund this scheme.
Shale gas reserves in the NT are unproven but the head of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association has spoken of the NT receiving hundreds of millions of dollars annually from onshore gas mining royalties.
The CM is certainly being much more conservative with his estimates. It seems that he is taking his cue from Deloitte Access Services, the firm that conducted a survey onto the royalties situation.
The Knowledge Territory scheme will not take effect until 2019-20. By his time of course the Chief Minister will almost certainly no longer be in office and probably won’t even be in the NT.