Remarks at the ‘Facing North’ NT Business Function

13 Sep 2017
Parliament House, Canberra
Prime Minister
Agriculture and Regional Australia


Thank you very much Nigel and you are a great mate and a great Minister and above all a great advocate for the North as we’ve just heard.

It’s good to hear from Luke too, and good to hear from the Chief Minister and I know that Bill will be following me shortly.

Let me begin with an acknowledgement to the First Australians from this district.

Yanggu gulanyin ngalawiri, dhunayi, Ngunawal dhawra. Wanggarralijinyin mariny bulan bugarabang

We are here on the lands of the Ngunnawal people and recognise we acknowledge of their elders past and present.

And we acknowledge all First Australians here today and as several people have identified, especially, the Larrakia mob. Thank you so much. It is great to be with you again. The final settlement of the Kenbi Land Claim was one of the most moving moments of my time as Prime Minister.

Let’s hear it for the original inhabitants of this great city that we are talking about here tonight.


Michael, you spoke about something that I often talk about, the fact that we are simultaneously in Australia, the oldest nation and the newest nation, we are old and new. We are 65 thousand years old. The most continuous, the oldest continuous human culture in the world and we are as new as the most brilliant young Aboriginal entrepreneurs, the latest great idea, or the little baby in the arms of her migrant mother getting her citizenship on Australia Day.

It is a remarkable country we have created here in Australia. The most successful multi-cultural society in the world and the issues we have we work out harmoniously and we work out respectfully, and that is particularly important. The foundation of our success is mutual respect.

But Nigel is right, I mean, and Michael is right, the prospects for the North are extraordinary.

There is a lot of gas in the North, Michael. Pull the trigger, Gunner. Pull the trigger.

We need that gas down here. The price – there is not enough supply and we need more of that gas.

But I know and I was talking to Michael about it earlier today – while I hope he is moving sedately but purposely and irreversibly towards opening up that big shoal gas province in the Northern Territory, while obviously a lot of that will come south and to the east coast and southern markets, there is the opportunity to do a lot with it in the Northern Territory as well.

Affordable gas has been a driver of jobs. It has been a driver of manufacturing. It actually is a driver of lower emissions too. Look what it has done in the United States. There is a lot of good news associated with shoal gas and having more of that available in the Territory and across Australia will be enormously important.

It is great to see too the way the Territory, it’s facing North, I guess that’s an invitation Nige for us to be facing north and we are, we are facing north, but also the Northern Territory faces north and Darwin faces north.

I was really struck by the extraordinary energy and youthfulness of Darwin. Every time I go, and when I say youthfulness, I don’t just mean people who are youthful in a chronological sense. I mean Anzac Day in Darwin is, Anzac Day is moving everywhere, but it is a remarkable day in Darwin because there is such a huge Australian Defence Force community in Darwin that most of the people in the Anzac Day parade and commemorations and service, are young servicemen and women. And it reminds you of the eternal commitment that Australians make, just like their grandparents and great grandparents did to keep us free. And you see them there, all those young people, so many of them, shortly to go overseas to fight for the very values that keep us free.

But it is also a spirit of innovation – Darwin is a city where people are not interested, in the Territory too, it is a place where people are not that interested in what you did last week but what you’re going to do next week. It is very proactive, very forward thinking, very dynamic, very entrepreneurial.

And while I’ve talked about the gas and of course there are many other great resources, natural resources of the Northern Territory, I just say in closing to all of you that the greatest resource of the Northern Territory above everything else, are the people of the Northern Territory. Your enterprise, your energy, your commitment is your greatest asset.

And I can tell you my government will back you to the hilt. Whether it is providing the infrastructure that you need, whether it is ensuring that are ADF in the Territory is supported, our Defence facilities further developed, whether it is ensuring that your businesses get the tax cuts they need so that they can invest and grow and provide more jobs. We are with you, we admire you, your energy and your enthusiasm, your youthfulness no matter what your age, Nigel – we are about the same age – no matter what your age, and your youthfulness inspires us and I know will draw many more Australians to join you in the exciting years you have ahead of you.

Good luck and it is great to be here, facing north.