Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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HomeVolume 28Gas, fracking and a new Minister

Gas, fracking and a new Minister


“A clear message to the mining industry – the Northern Territory is the place to be.”

That message came from Nicole Manison on April 18 this year, the darling of the mining industry, judging by the reaction she got from the more than 300 delegates she was addressing at the Annual Geoscience Exploration Seminar (AGES) in Alice Springs.

Now Ms Manison is no longer the Mining Minister, nor the Deputy Chief Minister, and she got dumped to the back benches instead of becoming Chief Minster, as she had hoped.

Unsurprisingly the oil and gas industry seems worried.

Australian Energy Producers NT Director David Slama yesterday urged new Chief Minister Eva Lawler “to maintain the momentum behind the region’s major low-carbon energy projects to secure its economic goals”.

Low-carbon stands for gas in the current propaganda of the non-renewable lobby, and gas is in massive quantities in the Beetaloo Basin, between Alice Springs and Darwin.

“Onshore gas development in the Beetaloo Basin and the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct are key drivers towards achieving a $40 billion NT economy by 2030,” Mr Slama put to Ms Lawler.

This comes as the voting public, especially those favouring Labor, are likely to remember that the last election was strongly fought on opposition to fracking, with the erroneous assumption that the ALP was against it.

Beetaloo is all about fracking and the next election is next year.

With Ms Manison at the helm Mr Slama had little to worry about.

The gas field in the Beetaloo Basin is a “really important” development for energy security, Ms Manison said. A fuel of transition to renewables is needed “and that is gas”. It is a cleaner fuel than coal which is still used extensively on the east coast.

The government has seen “some fantastic exploration results” in Beetaloo.

“We are working towards finalising the Pepper [fracking] inquiry [after which] we can look forward to production,” Minister Manison said in reply to a question from the Alice Springs News at the doorstop following AGES.

Given the urgent need to phase in renewable energy resources, how long will Beetaloo be working for, we asked her.

“Beetaloo will continue to operate for as long as it is commercially viable. [The companies] work towards making sure they are viable and profitable. While demand is there they will continue to operate,” the then Minister Manison replied.

Mr Slama said in a media release that the oil and gas industry looked forward to working with the new government, including Kate Worden (pictured) as Energy and Renewables Minister, to continue to deliver reliable and affordable energy supply.

“Middle Arm and the Beetaloo demonstrate how billions of dollars of economic benefits can flow in a net zero economy.

“The Beetaloo is one of Australia’s most exciting new prospects for gas supply, delivering extraordinary economic benefits and boosting energy security for the NT and east coast energy market.”

PHOTO from the 2021 AGES conference (from left): Minister Manison, Chief Minister Michael Gunner, Alice Springs airport stall staff including CEO Dave Batic and Ian Scrimgeour, Executive Director NT Geological Survey.


  1. The fracking industry has nothing to worry about.
    In the NT one side of politics are the consummate dog whistlers and wedgers.
    The other side will sacrifice promises and principles for the imperative of attempting to stay in power.
    The line up is irrelevant.
    In NT politics the economy will trump society every time.
    Happy Christmas y’all.

  2. My goodness, the first reaction when I saw the photo at the beginning of this article was to note how much it has become simply historical in the short time since it was taken.

  3. Failing to declare a small parcel of South32 shares Fyles inherited does not convincingly explain her resignation.
    Were Fyles and Manison dumped because they were getting wobbly on the disastrous Beetaloo fracking project that will add as much as 11% to Australia’s annual domestic carbon dioxide emissions?
    Shares in major Beetaloo stakeholder Tamboran Resources spiked during the leadership transition.
    Beetaloo has been derisked and is now in the safe hands of Eva Lawler with strong support from her deputy Paech.

  4. Michael Gunner’s comment to Eva Lawler via social media welcomed her to the “best job in the world”. If that was the case, and it was the “best job in the world”, why did he walk away from it so abruptly after delivering the Treasurer’s Report to the NT Parliament with no notice? Who walks away from the “best job in the world”?
    Natasha and Nicole are both young professionals with young children. They’ll find new career paths after they leave Parliament. Recruits for Twiggy to join their former boss in the mining industry?
    Have the traditional owners in the Beetaloo now capitulated about the fracking? I don’t think so.

  5. Ralph, it is not the size of the share parcel that is important.
    Making a controversial decision re a health issue while a shareholder was just stupid.
    Stupidity is a good reason for resignation.
    It is a long time since I was a player in the NT Labor Party, but I think your analysis lacks evidence.
    Paech has no discernible policies or position other than self promotion, and I know very little about Lawler.
    Like you I was astonished at Gunner’s resignation.
    I was just waiting for the huge bucket of shit to hit the fan. It didn’t.
    Perhaps his going made it unnecessary.
    However, the guts of the issue is that the NT cannot ever be economically self sufficient.
    Its huge area, low population density, and very high proportion of socially and economically deprived people ensure that.
    The Commonwealth already picks up a lot of the tab, but it is erratic and unreliable.
    The long term solution is the abolition of the states, and a two tier system of Government with sensible geopolitical regional administrations and a Federal Government that covers national issues.
    Does anyone think that the state governments spending taxpayers’ money on state consulates in foreign countries, competing against other Australian states, is anything other that lunacy?
    To the point: The population of the NT should not be forced to support disastrous climate catastrophic projects in order to prop up a stupid geopolitical system.

  6. In light of Nicole Manison’s announcement today that she will quit politics at this year’s election campaign (not surprising, I might add), the lead photo of this article has become even more historical.

  7. IMHO the best thing for the NT is for it to reach an agreement with South Australia for it to be returned to being a part of South Australia.



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