Never a dull moment in the fast lane: As traditional owners seek to block the Tennant Creek to Mount Isa gas pipeline, ex Labor Chief Minister Paul Henderson (at right in the picture) and former Liberal Opposition Leader Alexander Downer (next to him) are offering discreet advice about how to do business in the Territory. (Photo from their website.)
By ERWIN CHLANDA
Traditional Aboriginal owners are reportedly set to throw another spanner in the works of the Tennant Creek to Mt Isa gas pipeline.
They are expected to announce tomorrow that they will be withholding consent for sections of the construction corridor.
This follows uncertainty about the environmental approval for the pipeline.
It is in contrast to the statement from the firm proposing to build the pipeline, Jemena, who told the Alice Springs News Online today : “The process of obtaining traditional owner approvals is in its final stages and Jemena is confident that all formal consents will be issued soon.”
This is contrary to a report on December 13 last year that “in the last month, consent has been given by all relevant Aboriginal groups in the Northern Territory” for the project.
Meanwhile it has been revealed that Adam Giles is not the only former NT Chief Minister to be making a new career in the gas and oil business: Labor CM Paul Henderson (2007 to 2012) beat him to it.
He is running a business consultancy with former Federal Opposition Leader, Liberal Alexander Downer, a prominent figure in the oil and gas industry.
Mr Henderson’s firm, Bespoke Territory, which is linked to other similarly named consultancies around Australia, describes itself as a “unique partnership of respected former political and head of Government leaders” which specialises in “providing clients individual and discreet advice on how to succeed in this unique and dynamic part of Australia”.
According to a Stock Exchange report, in the quarter ended December 31, 2011, Australia Oriental Minerals NL entered into an agreement to establish a subsidiary company, Palatine Energy Pty Ltd “to secure tenements that are prospective for shale gas, shale oil and other tight gas and oil.
“Palatine submitted uncontested applications for two tenements … covering approximately 1056 square kilometres in the Amadeus Basin in the NT.
“The tenements are considered to be highly prospective for shale oil and gas and they are in close proximity to conventional oil and gas discoveries of Mereenie, West Walker, Palm Valley and Mt Winter,” says the report.
Mr Downer was appointed a director of Australia Oriental Minerals NL in October 2012.
In September 2014 traditional owners of the King’s Canyon National Park (Watarrka) protested against mining permissions being granted to Palatine Energy Pty Ltd. They were successful.
Mr Henderson declined to comment.