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FEATURED: AUSTRALIA NT GOV.Deletes Ref: To ‘ PETROCHEMICALS ‘ from ‘ Middle Arm Website’ rejects ‘GREENWASHING’ claims

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Ace Press News From Cutting Room Floor: Published: Nov.26: 2022:

#AceNewsDesk – 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.

Two women, one standing in front of news microphones, looking at a press pack off-screen.
Chief Minister Natasha Fyles has been seeking to downplay the potential for petrochemical production at the proposed Middle Arm industrial precinct.(ABC News: Michael Franchi)none

Key points:

  • The Middle Arm ‘Sustainable Development Precinct’ is expected to be built over seven years
  • Government documents previously said petrochemicals would be among a mix of industrial uses at the site
  • The Chief Minister has rejected claims of ‘greenwashing’ after the term ‘petrochemicals’ was deleted

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.References to “petrochemicals” contained on government websites for the precinct were deleted in recent weeks.(Supplied: Northern Territory Government)none

“In a global-first, the industrial precinct will be largely powered by renewables, master-planned to achieve a circular economy approach of sustainable and responsible production and will use technology to achieve low-to-zero emissions,” the website says.

Greens leader Adam Bandt accused the government of lacking transparency about Middle Arm, which will be linked to regional logistics hubs that are receiving an additional $440 million in federal funding.

“Labor is engaged in the kind of greenwashing the climate summit just rejected,” he said.Greens leader Adam Bandt has criticised the NT government’s plan for Middle Arm. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)none

“[They are] cynically changing the words on a website in the hope of hiding a $2 billion subsidy for a new gas terminal and petrochemical plant.”

The independent Member for Kooyong, Monique Ryan, who has raised concerns about the project in federal parliament, said the removal of the term “smacks of subterfuge and cover-up”.

“Instead of responding to valid community concerns about what is proposed at Middle Arm, we see the Northern Territory Government quietly removing all references to gas-fed petrochemical manufacturing on government websites,” she said.

The Chief Minister has defended the government’s actions.

“We’re not a greenwashing government,” Ms Fyles said.

“We’ve seen a little bit of unfair campaigning, and I’ve met with groups and called them out on it [for] trying to paint this as a petrochemical plant with smokestacks into the air.”

However, Ms Fyles would not say if petrochemicals would be excluded from the site.

“What I’m saying is we don’t know the industries that will go there,” she said, noting there are no confirmed tenants for the precinct at this stage.

“That is something that will be decided into the future.

“But we’re doing a whole-of-project assessment and then each project will also go through robust assessment.”Inpex’s Ichthys LNG is one of two existing gas processing plants at Middle Arm.(Supplied: Inpex)none

The government submitted the Middle Arm plan to the Environment Protection Authority earlier this year.

It included a reference to “low emissions petrochemicals”, among other industries.

The federal government’s funding for Middle Arm will be used to build a jetty and offloading facility that future industrial tenants can use.

The funding will be rolled out over the next seven years.


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