CLP secretly signing Territory away, say Greens


p2327-Dalton-Dupuy-2LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – The Giles government secretly signed away 15,000 square kilometres of Northern Territory land for coal mining and exploration south of Alice Springs.
The sugar coated deal gives the Texas company Tri Star a six year exclusive period to explore the Pedrika Basin. The deal was signed the day before the NT government went into caretaker mode.
It was never discussed publically and only released in the Government Gazette. Normal practices have been by-passed in the granting of these leases.
The Giles government continues to betray the people in the NT and makes secret deals from the top end to the desert.
This is a dirty deal done by a dirty government who wants dirty water and dirty air.
Dalton Dupuy (pictured)
Greens candidate for Braitling
UPDATE 3:10pm
The Northern Territory Department of Mines and Energy rejects any suggestion that any arrangement with Tri-Star involved special treatment or was a sweetheart deal, says Ron Kelly, the Chief Executive of the department.
“These applications have not been approved. The department will ensure that mineral authority applications must follow the well-established assessment process as with all other Mineral Title applications.”
Mr Kelly says this includes notifications about the proposed Mineral Authorities, to be published tomorrow.
“Tri-Star has acquired a number of mineral exploration licences in Central Australia through standard processes over the last 15 years. Tri-Star has met all of its obligations under the Mineral Titles Act.
“The applications by Tri-Star—where Mineral Authorities may replace the existing granted exploration licences—is a practice that is within the bounds of the Mineral Titles Act. This provides a six-year arrangement, rather than the current two years, and provides greater security for exploration investment.
Importantly, the Titles are still reviewed in the same cycle as the current exploration licences (every two years) to ensure that the company continues to meets all obligations of the Mineral Titles Act. It should be noted that in other jurisdictions such titles can be up to 10 years.”




  1. When my son was about ten months old, I spied him one day down the end of the hall, quietly and cheerily pulling tissues out of a box one at a time. I stood there, watching for a few moments. Eventually he turned his head and saw that he had been spotted. A wry smile came across my face and he giggled knowing he had been caught. At this moment he went back to the box and furiously pulled as many tissues out as he possibly could, laughing his head off.
    It is this story I am reminded of when I see behaviour like this from a dying political entity. The public are wise to this government and are ready to put an end to proceedings, as is their responsibility. So what does the CLP do? Behave like infants grabbing as many goodies as they can before they get put into time out!
    The public, like parents, will be left to clean up the mess.

  2. This reminds me of development plans for a major coal deposit at Lake Phillipson in the far north of South Australia being considered by the NT, SA and Commonwealth governments in 1980. It was seen at the time as being a potential major energy source for Darwin and Adelaide.
    However, a report published in July 1980 pointed out some problems: “It is of lower energy content than NSW and Queensland steaming coal, the ash fuses at relatively low temperatures, the location is very remote, the coal seam lies in subterranean water.”
    But there were also advantages: “The deposit is under a railway line. It is the best coal in South Australia and is likely to prove to be the cheapest domestic source of energy for South Australian power generation.
    “The reserves are vast and could be developed on an extremely large scale. The coal may be amenable to gasification, liquification and solvent refining.”
    During 1980 the NT Government was actively considering future energy options for the NT, seeking to end the Territory’s reliance for expensive imported crude oil for energy production in all the major towns.
    With the construction of the Tarcoola to Alice Springs rail line nearing completion, attention was redirected towards a renewed campaign to construct the railway from Alice Springs to Darwin. The coal deposit in SA “under a railway line” was seen as a neat fit for economic justification of the long-awaited railway to Darwin.
    In the 1980 NT election campaign, the CLP announced that a $400m coal-fired power station would be constructed in Darwin (ALP leader Jon Isaac’s proposal earlier that year for a gas pipeline from Central Australia to Darwin was roundly condemned as being impractical and unrealistic).
    During the Federal election campaign later that same year the Fraser Coalition Government announced that it would proceed with the railway from Alice Springs to Darwin, much to the delight of Chief Minister Paul Everingham. Everything seemed to be falling into place.
    However, Australia plunged into a deep economic recession and the Commonwealth dragged its heels on its rail commitment.
    Both the Coalition and Labor promised during the Federal election campaign of early 1983 to proceed with the railway to Darwin; Labor under Bob Hawke won, and then proceeded with delaying tactics to renege on that promise.
    The NT Government remained committed to a coal-fired power station until early 1984 but abruptly opted for a gas pipeline from the Centre. It was the Member for Braitling, Roger Vale, who successfully lobbied for the gas pipeline – although he had previously been Jon Isaac’s fiercest critic of the same idea in 1980.
    The railway to Darwin finally became a reality 20 years later; and it comes as no surprise that mineral exploration and deposits once regarded as uneconomic in the remote areas of the inland are now perceived in a much more favourable light.
    [Mr Vale was an ex-employee of the Magellan oil and gas company with a key role in the Mereenie – Palm Valley oil and gas fields.
    The US company says on its website: “In 1960, Magellan acquired its first interests in the Amadeus basin in Australia. Following the discovery of gas at Mereenie and Palm Valley in the mid-1960s, these interests became Magellan’s core producing assets for the next five decades.”
    Mr Vale assaulted me at the Alice Springs airport when I challenged him – by now a member of the NT Government – about not giving The Centre priority in the benefits from the Mereenie resources and consenting to exporting them from the region.
    The stoush was filmed by the Seven TV network which screened it nation-wide, contributing to my unending national prominence (in a positive way), and not quite so positive in the case of Mr Vale – otherwise a very popular local politician, with whom I enjoyed a very pleasant professional relationship.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor]

  3. The ABC radio tonight interviewed a person from the government deptment of mining and he said the story is false. Nothing is or was signed.

  4. No. The Greens candidate’s claim is true. OK, there is more to it with complex legal terms. Details are outlined elsewhere such as in The Australian (for example).
    A “mineral authority” is an ­obscure, rarely used form of title that gives the minister broad powers to waive conditions and bypass opportunities for public comment.
    On 5 August the NT Government Gazette revealed the land would become “general reserve” land.
    When an area is deemed “general reserve” a company can lodge an application on “first come first served” basis for a mineral authority – as Tri-Star did for this land ON THE DAY the gazette was released, thereby PREVENTING other companies from applying!
    The CLP Minister for Mines and Energy, David Tollner, met with TriStar during a taxpayer-funded trip to Texas last year.

  5. David you believe the Labor supporter journalist for the Australian newspaper and totally reject the head of Mines whose department is dealing with these issues? Really. It is the facts. Not some conspiracy made up by Labor / Green falsehoods.


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