The Northern Territory Government has launched the Operation Rebound initiative to help rebuild the region’s economy and make it stronger for the future.
Part of the operation will see government develop a new policy setting, with an approach to streamline the development of critical industries, including options to secure long-term domestic gas supply, land development and a new sustainable industry.
NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner unveiled the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission last week, and released Operation Rebound to guide the commission’s task of helping the region recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19.
“As the Territory entered 2020 after two years of subdued activity, the prospects for securing new investment in key sectors were encouraging; however, the new economic circumstance has delayed opportunities for greater development in some core sectors such as tourism and onshore gas,” Gunner outlined in the Operation Rebound document.
“In addition, some underlying structural economic weaknesses have been masked by large investment projects over the last two decades. This global shock is an opportunity to reconstruct the Territory economy as we rebound.”
The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) NT director Keld Knudsen said natural gas was already a key contributor to the NT economy and Darwin hosted two major liquified natural gas export facilities.
According to APPEA, there is also potential for new onshore projects, such as in the Beetaloo Basin, to power further growth and contribute to the economic recovery.
Knudsen added that successful exploration, appraisal and development of these resources could provide significant benefits of jobs, local business opportunities, new value-adding industries, infrastructure and community investment for decades to come.
“Our members stand ready to invest hundreds of millions in exploring the NT’s natural gas reserves, and many times that in bringing anticipated projects to full production,” Knudsen said.
“We look forward to engaging with the commission and the government on the recovery and creating new opportunities for the territory.”
The commission has been asked to provide an interim report by late July and final report in November.