Generous Giles? Not.



Anti-fracking rally in Alice Springs this morning.

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.
Bruce Francais


  1. Well said, Bruce Francais! The financial benefits from onshore gas royalties is so misguided, people of the NT will not be held to ransom by such acts of political manipulation.

  2. It is a pity that science has become associated with fringe groups, albeit powerful ones which will ride roughshod over the incoming Labor government in August, as it is their intention inflict much damage on a reasonably viable industry.
    Regardless of the radicals’ claims, fracking is a very old and reliable method of extraction and NT will suffer greatly if the gas industry is extinguished.
    I believe the South Australian Labor government, having decided to close down the coal industry, is now tentatively seeking approval to go nuclear.
    I wonder if the NT too will go nuclear once people receive power bills similar to those of SA? Stranger things have happened.

  3. If the people of the NT want cheaper power nuclear is not the way to go.
    It is perhaps the most expensive method of power generation once the cost of dealing with the storage of waste for thousands of years and the decommissioning of aged power plants us added to the equation.

  4. @ Chandra: Contrary to your claim horizontal hydraulic fracturing is not an old safe mining process.
    It was first used in the US in the mid 1990s and then in Australia in 2011.
    Many overseas countries have banned it because of the risks involved.
    With respect to radical fringe groups riding roughshod over an incoming Labor Government to inflict damage on an industry, the present administration is riding roughshod over Territorians to support the onshore gas mining industry. With the vast majority of citizens in the NT being opposed to fracking, I hardly think you could call it a fringe group.


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