CLP’S TERRITORY COORDINATOR TO OFFSET LABOR’S ECONOMIC FAILURES
Leader of the Opposition, Lia Finocchiaro, says the CLP is leading the way by introducing the Territory Coordinator Bill 2020, to offset Labor’s economic incompetence.
The Territory Coordinator is an independent facilitator between business and government which can slash red tape and fast-track approvals to get projects off the ground.
“We haven’t seen a single major project completed in the last four and a half years under the Gunner Government. Let’s not sugar-coat it: the major project system in the Territory is
“The Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission (TERC) and Langoulant Plan for Budget Repair both recommended an immediate overhaul of the major projects process and highlight the need for a “single point of coordination”.
“Three months after being handed the final TERC report and the Chief Minister hasn’t even held a ‘Team Territory’ meeting. The consistent failures and inaction from the Chief Minister means the Opposition is compelled to do the heavy lifting on the Territory’s economic recovery.
“The Territory Coordinator would have broad powers to designate ‘significant projects’, work with businesses to navigate the approvals process and direct government agencies to comply with streamlined decision-making timelines.
“We currently have 12 private sector-initiated proposals on the Territory’s major projects list, which has the potential to create thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the local economy.
“The Opposition has drafted the law, introduced it to parliament and hope to debate the legislative framework in the March sittings. All the Gunner Government needs to do now is support this Bill, or explain to Territorians why they’re voting against key recommendations from their own budget repair and economic reconstruction reports.
“It’s time to change the way the Territory does business and send a strong signal to the rest of the world that we are serious about attracting investment to become a major energy and industrial hub in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Ms Finocchiaro.
There hasn’t been a single major project completed in the past four and a half years under the Gunner Government. That’s despite specific recommendations from the Territory Economic Reconstruction Commission (TERC) and the Langoulant Plan for Budget Repair to overhaul the NT’s major project process and establish a “single point of coordination for major project investment”.
There are currently 12 private sector-initiated ventures on the Territory’s major projects list. Seven of those are mines, and one is a petroleum project: the Petrel Gas Project that targets stranded gas reserves in the Timor Sea. These projects alone could create thousands of jobs and potentially pump billions of dollars into the NT economy, as well as providing millions of dollars in tax and royalty revenues.
The other projects on the list – Sun Cable, Berrimah Farm and Project Sea Dragon – would be equally beneficial to the Territory. Sun Cable in particular has the potential to draw the technical and engineering expertise to the Territory to make us a world leader in the generation and transmission of renewable energy.
There are dozens of other mining, petroleum, agriculture, manufacturing and commercial investment projects that would benefit from the confidence that a Territory Coordinator would provide to investors.
Territory Coordinator Bill 2020
The Territory Coordinator would have broad powers to designate ‘significant’ projects, work with proponents to navigate approval processes and require government agencies to comply with expedited decision-making timelines.
The broad powers of the Territory Coordinator, which are incorporated into the Bill, include:
- Designating projects of significance to the Northern Territory;
- Assisting and facilitating proponent compliance with Territory environmental, planning and industry specific legislation;
- Requesting information from government agencies;
- Requiring government agencies to coordinate activities or share information;
- Issuing directions to government agencies setting or altering timelines for decisions; and
- Consulting the public, reporting and making recommendations on whether a project complies with applicable legislation and should proceed.
The Territory Coordinator is not designed to skip necessary processes like environmental and social impact and will ensure that projects are safe, responsible and provide a justifiable benefit to the Territory. Where necessary, the Territory Coordinator can speed up approvals processes and ensure that all arms of government are working together efficiently.
Step in Notices
Perhaps the most significant power of the Territory Coordinator is to issue a step in notice.
This essentially allows the Territory Coordinator to take over the primary role of decision maker in very clear circumstances:
- The decision maker has been given fair time to make a decision;
- Due to delays in reaching a decision, the Territory Coordinator issues a strict deadline to make that decision;
- If the decision maker fails to meet the deadline, the Territory Coordinator issues a step in notice and becomes the primary decision maker.
Where a step in notice has been issued, the original decision maker must provide the Territory Coordinator
with all of the materials underlying the decision making process under Clause 26 of the Bill.
A written report from the original decision maker may also be sought to aid in the process of conducting a review coinciding with a step in notice.
Where a step in notice has been issued, the Territory Coordinator will have all of the powers of the original decision maker under the relevant law, but must consider the criteria, matters relevant under law and regulation, as well as any other matters that are relevant to the decision.
Notice of the Territory Coordinator’s decision, as well as a summary of reasons, must also be provided to the Minister within five (5) business days. If a decision is not complied with, notice of non-compliance must also be provided to the Minister.
As a heightened requirement to recognise the gravity of a step in notice, the Minister is also required to table a copy of the Territory Coordinator’s report in the Legislative Assembly within six (6) sitting days.
Who can be the Territory Coordinator?
The Territory Coordinator must be a person with extensive experience in attracting, facilitating and delivering major private investment projects, however, they must not be a judicial officer, a Member of Parliament, or council, or be the officer of a Territory-controlled entity, nor have a recent political affiliation.
As with other independent statutory officers, the Territory Coordinator would be appointed by the Administrator, upon recommendation by the Government.
To view a copy of the Territory Coordinator Bill visit: https://legislation.nt.gov.au/en/LegislationPortal/Bills/By-Title
Please email your feedback to Opposition.Leader@nt.gov.au