Minerals Council of Australia NT DIVISION YEARBOOK 2012-13

During this year Mr Peter Stewart departed the Territory to take up a roll with one of our Senior Member companies. Dr Kevin Tuckwell stepped into the breach for several months, and I started in September. I would like to take this opportunity to thank both Mr Stewart for his tireless efforts in this role as a very strong advocate for the Northern Territory minerals sector, and Dr Tuckwell for providing me with one of the most comprehensive handovers I have ever experienced.

It was not just a time of change for the MCA-NT however. The Northern Territory also experienced a change of Government in August 2012. Like any political election campaign much rhetoric has been presented to the general populace during the first half of the year, but it was the Terry Mills led Country Liberal Party, and their Three Hub Economy of Agriculture, Tourism and Mining that won the vote on the day. The MCA-NT looks forward to a period of political stability in the Territory to allow for strong advocacy and strategically driven outcomes on behalf of the sector in the coming years. With nearly a generation gone by with no major greenfields development in the NT, hopefully together as a community we can progress such opportunities. Through collaboration, open communication and in good faith negotiations with the new Government, I am sure we will be able to achieve this for the benefit of all Territorians. 

Further to this, it was also a year where once again the NT was recognised as a highly sort after and Internationally recognised jurisdiction for exploration through the Fraser Institute report with the Territory again ranking highly – and indeed the highest of all Australian jurisdictions. Surely this sets the industry up for big things to come – as long as collectively the Government can present the right policy mix that will encourage development and investment into the future.

The MCA Indigenous Pre- Employment Programme continued its success in 2012. After providing for ongoing continuous improvement of the course deployment during this period, the programme’s success culminated in winning not only the NT Training awards for Industry Lead Training Initiatives, but National recognition as well in achieving the Industry Collaboration Award, Australian Training Awards 2012. I
am sure you will join me in congratulating all involved in that programme, and the recognition of this programme’s success through their awards. In 2013 the MCA-NT plans to review this programme to see where this can be taken next.

Vegetation Management Laws were also put on the table in early 2012. After the MCA-NT demonstrated that the proposed framework could impact the long term economic and social prosperity of the Northern Territory, along with several other land based industries, the laws were removed from further debate.

Work is also continuing in regards to streamlining approvals processes for both new sites and ongoing environmental reporting. The MCA-NT does not support the reduction of validity of these processes, but has long pushed for a reduction of the reporting burden of the processes, while upholding the integrity of the system. Much progression has been made during the year on this issue between the sector and the Government, and much more is expected to be announced early in the new year – a topic for discussion at next year’s report I am sure.