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FOR – Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023 and two others - in Committee - Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct

The majority voted against an amendment introduced by West Australian Senator Dorinda Cox (Greens), which means it failed.

Amendment text

(1) Page 6 (after line 30), at the end of Part 2, add:

11A Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct in the Northern Territory

No amount appropriated by this Act is to be spent on equity investment for the development of the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct in the Northern Territory, including common use marine infrastructure and regional logistic hubs, as described on page 163 of Budget Paper No. 2 2022-23, which was tabled in both Houses of the Parliament on 25 October 2022.

What is the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct?

According to ABC News, the Middle Arm Sustainable Development Precinct is:

where the NT government has proposed an industrial precinct featuring petrochemicals, minerals processing and renewables-based hydrogen.

The project, which is expected to include a jetty and other "common user marine infrastructure", was initially backed by the former Morrison government, which allocated the same funding over 10 years in its budget earlier this year.

Labor has described the precinct as a "a pathway to a decarbonised economy", but environmentalists have been highly critical of its expected use of fracked gas.

Though note a more recent report stated that:

The Northern Territory government has been accused of "greenwashing" after removing the term "petrochemicals" from its official documents about a new industrial hub on Darwin Harbour.

The yet-to-be developed site at Middle Arm — which received a $1.5 billion funding commitment in the federal budget — was previously promoted by the NT as a site for "low emission petrochemicals, renewable hydrogen and minerals processing".

But after environmentalists launched a campaign against the planned use of gas for some manufacturing at the site, Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said "mistruths" were being spread.

"This is not a petrochemical plant," Ms Fyles said earlier this month.

"This is a sustainable future project that is based on renewable energy into the future."

Her comments were at odds with multiple online government documents which referred to petrochemicals as being among the mix of industries, including renewables and minerals, that could be developed at the precinct.

But the term "petrochemicals" has now been scrubbed from many of those documents, while a new official website promoting the precinct features no references to the term.


Date and time: 10:32 AM on 2022-11-28
Senator Pocock's vote: Aye
Total number of "aye" votes: 13
Total number of "no" votes: 24
Total number of abstentions: 39
Related bill: Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2022-2023

Adapted from information made available by