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The Beetaloo Sub-basin’s resource potential is a significant opportunity for the economic recovery of the Northern Territory (NT) and Australia.

Current industry analysis projects that Beetaloo development could produce 6,000 jobs by 2040. Economic activity could increase between $18.0 billion and $36.8 billion over the same period.

The Commonwealth, in partnership with the NT Government, will act to realise these opportunities. These actions deliver on the government’s gas-fired recovery strategy.

The opportunities of the Beetaloo also present serious challenges that could prevent it reaching its full potential.

These challenges include:

  • overcoming the Beetaloo’s vast and remote nature in order to better understand its resources
  • establishing the required supporting infrastructure from the ground up
  • developing the Beetaloo’s gas in time to meet the expected window of maximum gas demand and potential declining production in southern states
  • ensuring local communities and Traditional Owners can realise the benefits of development

To meet these challenges, the government has developed the Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan (the plan). The plan encompasses more than $220 million in new funding to support Beetaloo development.

The plan draws on targeted economic, engineering and scientific studies commissioned by the Australian and NT Governments.

Through the plan we will create the conditions to grow the emerging onshore gas industry in the NT.

We will do this by:

  • encouraging industry to speed up resource exploration and appraisal
  • creating an efficient but rigorous regulatory environment
  • investing in the critical infrastructure required for development
  • collaborating with regional communities to ensure benefits from the Beetaloo’s development are widely shared

The government is already working together with local and Indigenous communities and gas operators. A collaborative approach will ensure we are best positioned to realise the vast benefits from Beetaloo development.

Symbols depicting that the Beetaloo plan builds a clear picture of the sub-basin, enables infrastructure, regulates efficiently and effectively and shares regional benefits.

Vision

Realising the Beetaloo’s full potential as soon as possible. Using this opportunity to create jobs and drive economic growth in the Northern Territory (NT) and Australia.

Actions

The Beetaloo Strategic Basin Plan includes $224 million+ in new investments.

Action 1: Building a clear picture of the Beetaloo

Action item Description
Exploration support Establishing a new $50 million Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program to support $200 million of exploration activity before 30 June 2022.
Resource analysis

Commissioned a $0.7 million Beetaloo Development Study.

Co-funded (with the NT Government) a $0.5 million Infrastructure Requirements Analysis.
Government and industry collaboration

Reinvigorating the Memorandum of Understanding with the NT Government (signed 2018).

Working with gas operators to address practical barriers to exploration and appraisal.

Action 2: Regulating efficiently and effectively

Action item Description
Environmental assessments Committed $36.2 million through the government’s Geological and Bioregional Assessment Program. The program produces geological and environmental data, tools and knowledge. This investment includes an approximate $16.9 million allocation to Beetaloo projects through to June 2021.
Social and environmental research Committed $19.2 million to support CSIRO’s Gas Industry Social and Environmental Research Alliance (GISERA) research efforts across Australia. Of the funds committed as at 30 June 2020, Beetaloo related projects received $1.6 million with more to be allocated by GISERA over the next few years.
Timely environmental approvals Working with the NT Government to establish new bilateral agreements, including single touch environmental approvals, under national law. 
Energy and emissions reduction Negotiating a Bilateral Energy and Emissions Reduction Agreement with the NT Government. This will have a clear focus on collaboration to drive development in the Beetaloo.
Project facilitation Working with proponents and the NT Government through the Australian Government’s Major Projects Facilitation Agency to ensure regulatory pathways are clear.

Action 3: Enabling infrastructure

Action item Description
Public road funding Establishing a new $173.6 million Roads of Strategic Importance corridor, the NT Gas Industry Roads Upgrades. These upgrades will be required for commercial development.
Midstream infrastructure Working with the NT Government and gas operators to deliver midstream gas infrastructure, including pipelines.
Infrastructure project financing Opening up more opportunities for Beetaloo infrastructure financing. This will be through the recent reforms to the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility.

Action 4: Sharing regional benefits

Action item Description
Indigenous economic development Invested $1.9 million to develop a Beetaloo Aboriginal Economic Development Strategy.
Indigenous business support Building a $2.2 million Barkly Business Hub. This will support local companies to realise the benefits of gas development and other opportunities in the region.
Supporting Traditional Owners Working to identify the resource requirements needed to ensure positive outcomes to Traditional Owners from the development of the Beetaloo.
Regional development Delivering, with the NT Government, a Regional Development and Benefit Strategy.
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