NT Government moves ahead on Middle Arm industrial precinct with proposed emissions data scheme

by | May 18, 2022 | Business, News | 0 comments

The development of the proposed Middle Arm industrial project into a “globally competitive and sustainable precinct” is moving ahead, the government said, despite warnings from the Environment Centre NT that the project may have “significant” public health impacts.

The government is accelerating its consultation process to hear from local businesses about the development of an “airshed model” for the Greater Darwin region.

The proposed airshed refers to the air in a set geographic region gathered for air quality management. The government said the airshed model will aid in planning ecologically sustainable industrialisation across the Greater Darwin region by ensuring the capture of all emissions emitted by almost 530 industrial businesses in the area.

Minister for Environment Eva Lawler, who is also Infrastructure Minister, said creating long-term and sustainable jobs is important to ensure the economic advancement of the Territory.

“Balancing economic advancement with environmental protection is important,” she said.

“Finding this balance is one of the reasons why the environmental assessment is being conducted at a ‘whole of precinct’ level rather than just ‘project by project’. This important work will allow the government to understand cumulative impacts and will provide better certainty for both industry and the community.”

Around 530 light industrial businesses that produce emissions in the Greater Darwin region will be asked to complete a survey to ensure all emissions are captured, the government said, but did not say if it was required.

The airshed model is touted as predicting the impact of cumulative air emissions and will be a requirement for environmental approvals for business in the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct, however the government did not say if they would legislate that.

The government said the model will:

  • Act as an emissions record to show the current status of emissions-producing activities as a baseline;
  • Help in distinguishing which pollutants exist within suburban areas, and aid in assessing how new businesses can be located to avoid increasing pollutant concentrations within suburban areas;
  • Measure the effects of other emitting activities on the environment to assist in planning for future industrial developments;
  • Help government regulate emissions from heavy industries; among others.

The airshed will be established by data coming from the surveys and from heavy industries that already report emissions to the NT Environmental Protection Authority (NT EPA) is needed for their licensing needs.

Focusing on how low emissions of hydrocarbon, renewable hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, minerals processing and advanced manufacturing, the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct will consolidate and elevate NT’s export and energy industries to emerge as a globally competitive and sustainable precinct.

“Harnessing the Territory’s world-class energy resources position us for growth in a net-zero emissions world, with opportunities to capitalise on the growing demand for low and zero emissions supply chains,” Ms Lawler said.

While an industrialised Middle Arm is envisioned to create 20,000 jobs, its potential threat to human health was labelled in a risk assessment the government was required to provide for environmental approval, noting that its closeness to residential Palmerston carries “uncertain” health risks.

The environmental report identified likely risks to various threatened species, including health hazards that may affect Palmerston residents.

Environmental advocates, led by the Environment Centre NT, have branded the report an “incredibly concerning” warning.

Environment Centre NT’s Jason Fowler told the ABC: “You’re talking about ammonia, methanol, hydrogen and gas liquids processing in Middle Arm, which is a petroleum refinery.

“This is all occurring within three kilometres of the suburb of Palmerston. If you look anywhere around the globe, you’re not finding massive petrochemical refineries right next to suburbia,” Mr Fowler said.

The report also cautions about the possible threat to marine life, migratory shorebirds and their habitats, including marine water and sediment quality.

Opposition CLP Leader Lia Finocchiaro called the proposed Middle Arm precinct a “game-changing economic opportunity” and said the Fyle Government does not appear excited about the project.

“The influence the Greens will have on Natasha Fyles’s government is going to be devastating for industry and our economy,” she said.

“A CLP government I lead, understands that capital flows to the path of least resistance. We want to ensure the Territory is, not only a great place to live, but government is working every single day to showcase the Territory as a safe, competitive hub for private investment.”

 

 

(Visited 369 times, 1 visits today)

Ads by Google

Ads by Google

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense

Adsense