Gas deal: They can’t blame Giles for this one!

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The Henderson Labor government in 2009/10 locked the Northern Territory into buying gas from an Italian company for 25 years, much of which is unlikely to be needed for local electricity generation.


That deal will force the Power Water Corporation (PWC) to become a player in the fickle market of a commodity threatened by the global move to renewable energy.


The main client of the 100% government owned PWC is Territory Generation (TGen), also 100% government owned.


TGen currently buys $160m worth of gas a year from PWC on a short-term contract which is being re-negotiated for a medium-term deal, but well short of 2030, when the government wants to be 50% renewable, and 2035, when the Henderson deal runs out.


TGen CEO Tim Duignan told a business lunch in Alice Springs last week that by 2030 he expects  his company’s demand for gas will shrink to one-third of the current requirement.


The bulk of the gas comes from the Blacktip gas field located 110km off the northern coast of Australia in the Timor Sea’s Bonaparte Basin. The field is 100% owned and operated by the Italian company Eni. First production from the field was achieved in September 2009.


Eni operates in 73 countries around the globe with a staff of 33,000, has a market capitalisation of US$55b and was ranked 65th in the Fortune Global 500 list in 2016.


PWC will not disclose the quantity of gas it has agreed to buy from Eni over the 25 year contact period, nor the price.


PWC says the gas provided to T-Gen for the Owen Springs power station is supplied primarily from the Dingo gas field south of Alice Springs. The remainder of T-Gen’s requirements, an estimated 90%, is supplied from Blacktip.


It is PWC’s understanding that there is currently no supply of gas from Palm Valley west of Alice, a spokeswoman says.


So what will PWC be doing with the volume of gas, steadily growing on the march to the 2030 target, which  TGen is not going to buy, in a market where it is difficult to predict what the prices will be in a fortnight, let alone 15 years?


“Yes, there is surplus gas. We are selling gas,” says the spokeswoman. “We’re open for business. We’re not relying on TGen to buy that gas.”


She says the Tennant to Mt Isa pipeline, connecting the NT to the national gas grid, will be an important selling tool.


Source  :

Northern Territory royal commission into youth justice gets deadline extension

Hayley Sorensen, NT News

Commissioners Mick Gooda and Margaret White overseeing the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. Picture: Amos AikmanCommissioners Mick Gooda and Margaret White overseeing the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory. Picture: Amos Aikman

THE Northern Territory’s royal commission into juvenile justice has been given an extra four months to deliver its final report.

The federal and NT governments have agreed to the extend the date to August 1 next year, to be covered by the existing budget.

“Given the importance of the royal commission’s work, both governments consider that it is reasonable and appropriate to grant the short extension. No further extensions will be granted,” they said in a joint statement on Friday.

The commission was supposed to report back by March 31.

The commission was scheduled to hear from about 16 witnesses including five current and former child detainees during the December public hearings, which finished up on Wednesday. But the hearing has been beset with problems and delays.

Only two children have provided testimony, only one of whom has had their story make it to the public record.

The commission is expected to cost $50 million, with the cost shared by the federal and Territory governments.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner last week said there could be major ramifications for the Territory if the commission does not report back by March 31, as its recommendations could not be included in next year’s budget.

He said every dollar spent on the royal commission was a dollar that was not being spent on youth justice reforms.


Source : NT News

Melbourne teachers feared the worst after Kakadu nightmare

KIERAN BANKS, Crime reporter, News Corp Australia Network

September 26, 2016 11:29pm

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Melbourne tourists Amelia Elliott and Felicity Campbell spent two nights fending for themselves in Kakadu after their car became bogged. PICTURE: SuppliedMelbourne tourists Amelia Elliott and Felicity Campbell spent two nights fending for themselves in Kakadu after their car became bogged. PICTURE: Supplied

BATTLING dehydration, sunburn and severe blisters Melbourne school teacher Amelia Elliott feared she might die when a trip to Kakadu descended into a nightmare.

The 31-year-old and her teaching friend Felicity Caldwell, 26, survived two nights in the rugged Kakadu conditions after getting bogged on a mud track.

Ms Elliott said the dream trip began to unravel when a GPS navigation system short cut led them down a dirt track on Old Jim Jim Rd in the heart of the iconic national park.

The pair had booked two river tours and planned to sight-see around the national park.

The duo’s rented 4WD became bogged as the sun set and petrol gauge ran on empty.

The pair reluctantly camped over night in the rugged and hot Kakadu conditions and were sustained by fruit, muesli bars and rain and swamp water..

“We set up the tent and went to bed covered in mud. We tried to get as clean as we could use wet wipes, but because the vehicle was surrounded by mud, it was pretty futile to get clean,” she said.

The pair hiked for help on the second day of their ordeal battling the heat, dehydration and sunburn.

Ms Elliott said she feared the worst when the hike failed to find any help.

But a last-ditch effort to dig out the mud out from the tyres and replace fill the void with sticks freed the 4WD from the bog.

“Our next plan was to do everything in our power to get it out of the mud because after our hike, and barely making it back, we knew we might not manage the hike back to the unsealed road.”

The next morning they drove 100km to a service station and received medical treatment for blisters and sunburn.

But Ms Elliott said the two-day ordeal could have been avoided if the hotel alerted authorities when they didn’t arrive.

She spoke to hotel management only an hour before they were due to check-in.

“Had we not managed to get ourselves back to the highway, there was little chance of rescue and we literally could have died due to lack of food or becoming ill due to swamp water.”

According to NT Police, there is no legal requirement for hotels to notify authorities if guests fail to turn up.

An NT Tourism spokeswoman said it was up to individual hotels to determine policies on raising the alarm for missing tourists.


Source : NT News

Driver, 43, charged after collision with road train on Stuart Highway north of Katherine


September 22, 2016 9:31pm

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AN ALLEGED drunk driver has been charged and their passenger seriously injured following a collision with a road train north of Katherine.

AN ALLEGED drunk driver has been charged and their passenger seriously injured following a collision with a road train north of Katherine.

The 43-year-old driver had allegedly crossed onto the wrong side of the Stuart Highway, 27km north of Katherine at 9pm on Thursday.

Territory Duty Superintendent Richard Bryson said the driver of the road train took evasive action to avoid a head on collision.

However, the station wagon collided with one of the trailers.

Supt Bryson said the driver was charged with high range drink driving.

“Initial indications are the station wagon has travelled on to the wrong side of the road and the road train has tried to take evasive action but it’s still collided into the trailer,” he said.

“The driver of the Suburu has been arrested for high range drink driving and one of the passengers has been seriously injured and medevaced up to Darwin by CareFlight over night.”

A CareFlight spokeswoman said the 20-year-old man was taken to Katherine Hospital from the accident and then flown to Royal Darwin Hospital in a serious condition.


Source : NT News

Guards had no authority to use tear gas at youth detention centre, Supreme Court hears

September 19, 2016 10:45pm

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The NT Government is being sued by four teenagers who were tear-gassed while in youth detention.

PRISON guards who sprayed youth detention inmates with tear gas likely committed a serious criminal offence and could face jail time themselves, the Supreme Court has heard.

A potentially million-dollar civil suit against the NT Government is due to start next Monday before Justice Judith Kelly, in which four of the boys – whose names are suppressed – are seeking unspecified damages.

Two other boys, Dylan Voller and Jake Roper, are also suing the government over the incident in a separately listed matter.

In a pre trial mention on Tuesday, barrister Kathleen Foley, for the four boys, said she would argue the prison guards – who were brought in from Darwin’s adult jail – had no authority to use tear gas at the youth detention centre.

“I flag this now … some of their evidence actually discloses an offence, a serious offence,” Ms Foley said.

Under the Weapons Control Act, Ms Foley said the guards could face up to two years in jail for using the tear gas.

The tear gassing of the six children was in response to a so-called riot, in which one detainee escaped from a cell into the enclosed yard of the behavioural management unit. Five other boys were securely inside their cells when the guards stormed the unit, gassing them.

“We say CS (tear) gas is a serious weapon, that ultimately is a prohibited weapon,” Ms Foley said.

Ms Foley said she would argue the prison guards’ authority to use the gas evaporated when they went to the youth detention centre, where Youth Justice Officers have no such authority to use tear gas.

She said without the legal authority to use tear gas, the government’s arguments about reasonable use of force would not stand up.

Video of the tear-gassing shown on ABC’s Four Corners shows disgraced former correction commissioner Ken Middlebrook telling guards: “Mate, I don’t care how much chemical you use…”

Sacked former CLP Corrections Minister John Elferink later accused Mr Middlebrook of misleading the cabinet over the nature of the “riot”, which guards also responded to with a trained dog.

Government lawyers advised former chief minister Adam Giles to settle with the boys for as much as $250,000 each. Mr Giles rejected that advice, instructing lawyers to proceed to trial.


Source : NT News

Former deputy chief minister Willem Westra van Holthe’s Katherine office left in ‘disgusting’ state

September 17, 2016 10:25pm

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Former deputy chief Minister Willem Westra van Holthe reportedly left his Katherine office in a state of disrepair. PICTURE: Isabella MooreFormer deputy chief Minister Willem Westra van Holthe reportedly left his Katherine office in a state of disrepair. PICTURE: Isabella Moore

FORMER CLP deputy chief minister Willem Westra van Holthe’s Katherine electorate office was left in such disrepair it will now have to be fumigated and deep-cleaned at taxpayer’s expense.

A source in Katherine who surveyed the damage after Mr Westra van Holthe moved out said there were rat droppings all over the office, minor damage to walls and human faeces all over the toilet seat and bowl.

“It’s disgusting,” the man said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Mr Westra van Holthe lost the Katherine seat in last month’s election by 28 votes. He occupied the electorate office since 2008.

The total cost to taxpayers for cleaning the office was not available yesterday but could be thousands of dollars. Labor MLA Sandra Nelson, who inherited the office after defeating Mr Westra van Holthe, confirmed yesterday just how disgusting the conditions are inside.

“I was shocked and disappointed at the appalling state of the former Member for Katherine’s office,” she said. “There are rat droppings, dead bugs, bug droppings and filthy work surfaces and I have asked for the office to be cleaned and fumigated.”

Ms Nelson added the office should be suitable for human habitation by Monday or Tuesday.

Mr Westra van Holthe denied the office was filthy and called allegations of faeces on the toilet “ridiculous”. He said the office was routinely cleaned by a contractor.

“Obviously, furniture that hadn’t been moved in a long time could have any manner of critter under it,” he said. “The toilet was cleaned again, by the contractor. Any suggestion otherwise is a load of crap.”

Mr Westra van Holthe was forced to resign from cabinet earlier this year after the NT News revealed he had signed a shares offer with a Vietnamese company in which he was negotiating with on behalf of the Government. He also carried out an extramarital affair with the company’s secretary.


Source : NT News

Nomads national office-bearer Stephen Garland arrested in Darwin

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Nomads national office bearer Stephen Garland was extradited from Darwin to Sydney after his arrest in Darwin. PICTURE: Katrina BridgefordNomads national office bearer Stephen Garland was extradited from Darwin to Sydney after his arrest in Darwin. PICTURE: Katrina Bridgeford

A NOMADS bikie gang national office-bearer was arrested after a package containing 3kg of the drug ecstasy destined for Darwin was intercepted in Sydney.

Stephen Garland was extradited to Sydney yesterday after NSW Police found the package, which contained an estimated $750,000 worth of ecstasy.

The NT News understands Garland sent the drugs back to Sydney because of their poor quality. The package was seized on its return to Sydney leading to Garland’s arrest at a rural property in Darwin River on Thursday.

Garland was arrested without incident.

Yesterday, a 22-year-old man and alleged Nomads member was arrested in Sydney in relation to the seizure.

It is believed Garland had moved to the Territory to set up a legitimate business and is accused of intending to sell the ecstasy tablets on the lucrative Darwin drug scene.

He appeared in the dock of Darwin Local Court briefly on Friday before being remanded until his extradition yesterday.

The heavily tattooed Garland, wearing a white T-shirt, grey shorts and no shoes, said little during the brief appearance in court.

He was led through Darwin Airport by NSW detectives handcuffed and with his head covered by a black Nomads T-shirt.

NT Police Organised Crime Division detective Senior Sergeant Mark Stringer said the seizure prevented thousands of pills sweeping on to the Darwin drug market.

“It’s a significant quantity. To put it into context, a commercial quantity under the misuse of drugs act is 40g,” he said.

“It’s known that outlaw motorcycle gangs and other organised groups are trying to make inroads with Darwin.

“There is a very high price for drugs in the Northern Territory.”

According to Ecstasy and related Drugs Reporting System, Territorians pay the highest price for the drug in the country.

The report found Top End users were paying $35 per pill, compared to $25 nationally.

Sen-Sgt Stringer said Garland was the highest Nomads officeholder arrested in the NT.

He said police believed the Nomads were not preparing to establish a Top End chapter of the outlaw motorcycle gang.

Garland is expected to appear in Parramatta Local Court today.


Source : NT News

Disastrous Top End hunting trip’s new twist after claims of rogue operators

September 14, 2016 11:30am

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A HUNTER who lost all his possessions in a campsite explosion has claimed the trip was an organised tour led by rogue operators.

Twelve hunters lost everything when a small fire spread to jerry cans containing petrol and two venting gas bottles which fuelled a massive fireball at a billabong 20km east of Pine Creek on Sunday.

The blaze burnt out 5ha of land on Mary River Station and destroyed five cars and trailers and killed at least six dogs.

A hunter — who asked to remain anonymous — told the NT News the tour was chaotic.

The hunter said he and others in the party paid $1500 to take part in the trip led by a Pine Creek local and a Queensland man.

One of the hunters on the tour east of Pine Creek which ended with the campsite becoming engulfed in a fireball. Picture: FACEBOOK

He claimed the dozen hunters were not friends and had only met on the tour.

He said he was put onto the trip by a QLD friend and claimed the grass at the chosen campsite, which exploded in a massive flame ball, was too long and caused the fire to spread through bushland.

The hunter said several members of the group were stranded in Katherine awaiting transport home from family members.

The NT News has attempted to contact the men who led the hunting trip.

Police are still investigating the cause of the fire although it is not considered suspicious.

The hunter said he believed the blaze was sparked by an overheating generator.

A Parks and Wildlife spokesman said tour operators only required permits inside of national parks or when hunting protected species.

The revelations came as other hunters in the group started a fundraising web page to recoup the cost of the destroyed property.

Jamie and Danial Cubby have had a Go Fund Me campaign created on their behalf.

Late yesterday they had raised under $200.

The post read: “Jamie and Danial Cubby were involved in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of their much loved family pets.”


Source : NT News

Six dogs killed and vehicles destroyed in campsite explosion east of Pine Creek

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Twelve Queensland hunters will leave the NT with only the clothes on their backs after an explosion destroyed their campsite and killed six of their dogs. Picture: SuppliedTwelve Queensland hunters will leave the NT with only the clothes on their backs after an explosion destroyed their campsite and killed six of their dogs. Picture: Supplied

TWELVE Queensland hunters left the Top End yesterday with only the clothes on their back after a campsite explosion destroyed their possessions and killed six dogs.

Police suspect a small fire, which started in a gazebo, spread to jerry cans containing petrol and two venting gas bottles, which fuelled the massive fireball.

The ferocity of the explosion projected debris 100m from the site, was heard by campers more than 600m away on Mary River Station, and burnt out 5ha of bushland.

A police source said the six dogs were burnt alive as they were kept in cages on the back of the hunters utes or tied to trees.

The explosion destroyed five cars and trailers and five quad bikes.

The NT News understands the party was comprised of fathers and sons and workmates who regularly travelled for hunting holidays.

The hunters were fishing and swimming at Wandie billabong, 20km southeast Pine Creek on the Kakadu Hwy, when the site exploded at 4.15pm on Sunday.

A police spokesman said the experienced hunters, from southeast Queensland, were two days into an eight-day stay at the site and had spent a week at Tipperary.

He said the men were taken back to Pine Creek late on Sunday and, although they escaped physical injury, they were shaken by the deaths of their beloved dogs.

Two of the dogs are unaccounted for.

“From what we understand, there was a large fire ball from the fuel,” he said.

“There were actually people camping 600m away — he heard the explosion and called police.”

He said they were left with one mobile phone between them.

“Two nearby gas bottles vented, spewing flame in different directions and igniting a quad bike which in turn ignited a vehicle.”

“As the fire continued to spread jerry cans of fuel exploded spreading the fire further afield. With gusting winds the fire moved through the camp and out into surrounding bushland.”

The hunters made contact with their families on Sunday night and were expected to return to Brisbane last night.

The fire is not being treated as suspicious and will not be investigated.

A hunters’ campsite was left in ruins after a fire and explosion. Picture: Supplied

Source : NT News

Beloved pet dog shot by neighbour

September 8, 2016 11:30pm

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 Suzanne Van Engelenhoven's Dane X Bull Arab named Villain was shot and killed by a neighbour
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<source></source>Suzanne Van Engelenhoven’s Dane X Bull Arab named Villain was shot and killed by a neighbour .


AN irate man shot his neighbour’s beloved pet dog with a high-powered rifle and left it to die by the side of the road after the 16-month-old wandered onto his driveway.

The man claimed the dog had entered his property several times and taken his chooks, but then changed his story to the dog owners saying it was a case of “mistaken identity”.

The distraught owners of Villain, the Dane X Bull Arab, spoke out yesterday about their devastation at losing the family pet they’d raised since he was four weeks old.

NT Police yesterday said after investigating the incident — which occurred at Berry Springs — they were unable to prosecute the man as he was deemed to be “acting in the best interest of his family”.

Owner Suzanne Van Engelenhoven said the neighbour had since apologised, but Villain’s death had impacted the family significantly.

“He was a beloved family pet … a gentle giant that did not have an aggressive bone in his body. He was a sook that would cower at … my own friends when they came to the house,” an emotional Ms Van Engelenhoven said yesterday.

“I pulled over on the side of the road (and) when I realised he had passed away I fell to the ground screaming in tears.”

Ms Van Engelenhoven said the animal had made his way off her property, which she and her partner had only moved into three weeks prior, and walked into the front yard of a neighbour’s property before being shot in the stomach.

“(My partner) heard the very loud shot — clearly from a high powered rifle — and raced out to find Villain who had managed to walk back to the side of the road.

“My partner called me in tears saying our dog had been shot so I raced back home and we picked him up and put him in the car to drive to the vets.

 “This is a dog who was even scared of our pet cat. He was 45 kilos but an absolute sweetheart.”

She said the man had claimed the dog entered his property several times — once attacking his chooks – before changing his story.

“He said Villain had been on his property multiple times before, though he had not bothered to contact me even though … (Villain had) my number embroidered onto his collar.

“He then said our dog had attacked his chooks six months ago, but we weren’t even living out there at the time.”


Source : NT News