Landmark agreement includes $91m benefits package 


A landmark agreement signed in the Top End today will deliver a $91 million social and environmental benefits package.

Charles Darwin University has joined the Northern Territory Government and Ichthys Project joint venture partners, INPEX and Total, in celebrating the signing of a Heads of Agreement for the proposed gas plant in Darwin.

Chief Minister Paul Henderson said the agreement listed nine community-based projects INPEX and Total would fund over 40 years.

“INPEX and Total have committed $91 million to protect Territory marine life, offset carbon emissions and create more training and job opportunities for Territorians,” Mr Henderson said.

Funding includes:
•  $37 million for savannah burning in the Daly/Wagait region, which will reduce the Territory’s CO2 emissions and create job opportunities for Indigenous Territorians
•  $51 million for seven environmental programs, with a focus on protecting dolphins and dugongs in Darwin harbour and providing job opportunities for Indigenous marine rangers, and
•  $3 million to help establish the North Australian Hydrocarbon Centre of Excellence at CDU, which will provide specialist research services and training to the oil and gas industry.

Mr Henderson said the agreement was an important step towards a final investment decision and would assist the Australian Government with its assessment of INPEX’s environmental impact statement.

A substantial part of the marine conservation and research would be undertaken through CDU’s Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods.

CDU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover welcomed the announcement by the Ichthys partners, which would accelerate the development of the Centre of Excellence at the university’s Casuarina campus.

“The proposed North Australian Hydrocarbon Centre of Excellence will provide substantial training, education and research support to the growing oil and gas industry in northern Australia and throughout the region,” Professor Glover said.

“It will enable Territorians to access career opportunities in this important industry without the need to study and train interstate.”

INPEX Director President, Australia Seiya Ito said the joint venture partners were committed to developing and operating the Ichthys project in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

“The voluntary environmental and social benefits program will help increase the community’s understanding of the Territory’s marine environment, build capacity in the oil and gas industry in Australia, and create additional jobs and training opportunities,” he said.

“The savannah fire management project will reduce the Territory’s greenhouse gas emissions and assist with biodiversity protection while creating job opportunities in regional communities.

“In addition, INPEX will continue to support community projects over the life of the project through our ongoing sponsorship program.”