As many constituents are aware, the Australian Government has committed to invest $1.5 billion in planned equity to support the construction of common user marine infrastructure at Middle Arm, and a further $440 million to support the development of Regional Logistics Hubs in the NT including at Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. 

The Australian Government investment will provide suitable common use marine infrastructure, such as specialist product wharves, modular offloading facilities and dredging of the shipping channel. 

Funding will go towards infrastructure that will support users to export clean energy critical to meet our commitment to Net Zero, not only green hydrogen, but the manufacture and export of lithium batteries that are critical to global energy transition and decarbonisation. 

Demand is growing overseas for these clean energy sources, and this investment will help position the Northern Territory and Northern Australia to diversify their economy, take advantage of new opportunities and provide an estimated 20,000 new jobs. 

The NT Government has recently issued commitments to five proponents to set aside specific parcels of land for up to 12 months to provide them with confidence and certainty to continue developing their proposals and demonstrate how they will comply with the environmental assessment process. 

These proponents are developing projects that include a green hydrogen facility using solar energy, green ammonia production, critical minerals processing for use in energy storage batteries and pre-cursor battery materials, and the manufacturing of these products. 

As gas remains an important energy source for Australia and our trading partners during the transition to net zero and decarbonisation, a lower CO2 emission liquefied natural gas export facility is also one of the proposals. 

The NT Government also recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Larakia Energy and Korea Midland Power Co. to work in co-operation to achieve the rapid development of the Green Energy Project to power and support the Middle Arm precinct - which if successful, could be the NT’s largest solar farm. 

There is some way to go until the construction of the precinct commences. The Middle Arm project is currently undergoing a Strategic Assessment under the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. All potential environmental, social, cultural and economic impacts will be considered through this process. 

The NT Government has also committed to full and proper consultation with affected First Nations peoples and other relevant stakeholders through the regulatory approval process. Further, the NT Government has undertaken over 200 studies and investigations with a number of feasibility studies currently underway, including: 

  • industry scenario planning;
  • land development studies and investigations;
  • marine development studies and investigations; and
  • environmental studies (including health, economic, social, cultural and heritage assessments).

Common user infrastructure at Middle Arm is included in Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List of nationally significant proposals and the Stage 2 business case project was recently approved by Infrastructure Australia, and will now proceed to Stage 3. 

The Australian Government will work with the NT Government, industry and the local community and relevant First Nation communities to develop a sustainable growth plan for Middle Arm, with a view to further announcements next year on implementation of this planned equity investment. 

The Australian Government believes investing in projects such as the Middle Arm Precinct are an important way of setting up our economy for a sustainable future. 

Australia finally has a federal government that is committed to taking serious action on climate change and ensuring Australia harnesses the opportunities which come with it.