Pleas to save NT town from closure, federal neglect
Regional Development Australia says the Federal Government is neglecting one of its most vulnerable communities by ignoring the closure of a Northern Territory refinery, and the likely ruination of nearby residents.
The Australian Government-administered body made up of local leaders held an emergency meeting in Darwin this week to talk about Rio Tinto's plan to shut down its Gove alumina refinery and curtail other projects.
The shutdown of the Gove refinery would be disastrous for thousands in the town of Nhulunbuy, the economy of which is almost solely reliant on wages from the plant.
“As far as the community can see, the Federal Government response has been that the silence is deafening,” said East Arnhem Land RDA branch head Denise Fincham.
Senator Nova Peris will visit Nhulunbuy this week as well, on the back of similar comments that the Federal Government is ignoring the town.
It has been seen by some as the first test for a new government which claims a strong intent to better serve its Indigenous citizens.
“We've got a prime minister here who says he wants to invest in the north and improve the lives of Aboriginal people,” Ms Peris said, adding that the closure of the refinery exacerbates both issues.
Federal Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane says a possible rescue package will be discussed later this week.