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Federal funding case for Beetaloo Basin infrastructure intensifies

The resource industry could receive millions of dollars in additional taxpayer-funded subsidies from the federal government as gas exploration nears a tipping point in the Beetaloo Basin.

Late last month, the Northern Territory Government unveiled a list of proposals it had submitted to Infrastructure Australia, an independent statutory body which advises governments and industry on how best to use public funds to achieve positive outcomes for communities.

The list included road improvements, new housing to alleviate overcrowding, and recreational fishing infrastructure.

He also proposed that the infrastructure necessary for oil and gas companies to achieve production in the Beetaloo be prioritized for public funding. This proposal has now been added to Infrastructure Australia’s list of national priorities.

Industry backers have said the Beetaloo Basin will be vital to bolstering Australia’s energy security.

Cassandra Schmidt, director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), said an expanded industry could also boost local manufacturing or fuel a new hydrogen industry.

It is estimated that there is enough shale gas to supply Australia for 200-300 years and demand has increased since Russia invaded Ukraine.

But environmental groups and Indigenous custodians said they were furious with the decision, which came just months after a series of grants were successfully challenged in court.

Hannah Ekin says ALEC is calling for the Beetaloo sub-basin to be removed from Infrastructure Australia’s priority list.(ABC News: Xavier Martin)

Hannah Ekin, from the Center for the Arid Lands Environment, said these were the kinds of things private companies should fund themselves.

“It’s kind of like I want to start a food truck in Alice Springs and the government says someone should fund my stove or the air vents I need to be up to standard,” he said. she declared.

Taxpayer-funded grants of $50 million have already been paid to gas companies in the Beetaloo and $217 million have been spent on improving roads for their trucks.

Infrastructure grants could help address wastewater challenges

An early-stage proposal for the Beetaloo Basin infrastructure has already been added to Infrastructure Australia’s National Priority Investment List. The Government of the Northern Territories has worked towards the second stage by presenting a case for potential investment options.

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