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Santos and Barossa JV partners invest in Aboriginal communities

1st February 2024

By: Creamer Media Reporter


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Oil and gas major Santos and its joint venture (JV) partners in the Barossa gas project on Thursday announced they would invest up to A$10-million in Northern Territory coastal Aboriginal communities and homelands as the development phase of the project progresses.

Investments would be aimed at improving community and homeland infrastructure and services, as well as programmes that enable Aboriginal people to maintain cultural practices and carry out cultural obligations, care for their country and establish pathways to skilled, well-paying, secure jobs and business opportunities.

In addition, the Barossa gas project JV partners announced they were supportive of establishing a fund from commencement of production (targeted for 2025), for the life of the project, to share the benefits of the project with Northern Territory coastal Aboriginal communities and homelands. The fund would aim to deliver intergenerational progress for Aboriginal Territorians and build a better future for the next generation.

The fund would invest over the long term in community and homeland infrastructure, cultural activities and services that improve health, education, housing, community resilience and economic outcomes for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. It would also invest in programmes that enable Aboriginal people to maintain cultural practices and carry out cultural obligations, care for their country and build capacity to establish new pathways to skilled, well-paying, secure jobs and business opportunities for Aboriginal Territorians.

Santos, as operator of the Barossa JV, has been engaging with Aboriginal leaders from the Tiwi Islands, East Arnhem, West Arnhem, Darwin-Daly-Wagait and Victoria River District regions during 2023. It is intended that Aboriginal people will have a real voice in establishing governance arrangements and the investment mandate for the fund, and in selecting priority projects for funding.

Santos CEO and MD Kevin Gallagher said the Barossa JV partners are committed to real and practical action to help close the gap on Aboriginal disadvantage in the Northern Territory.

“Training, education and good jobs are a universal foundation for human progress. They are the building blocks for individual social and economic empowerment, and just as importantly, for stronger, more resilient families and communities. Achieving better employment outcomes for  Aboriginal Territorians depends on investments such as Barossa gas and Darwin LNG (DLNG) life extension to provide new job, business and other opportunities,” said Gallagher.

“The Barossa gas and DLNG life extension projects are already training and employing Aboriginal Territorians, and we plan to do much more, including through Santos and DLNG’s recent announcement of a new jobs programme with KAEFER, our valued partner providing scaffolding, mechanical and fabric maintenance services for the DLNG plant.

“This programme has already been a resounding success with over 90 applicants to date. Fifteen Aboriginal trainees and apprentices will start with KAEFER at the end of February with a second group to commence in the May/June period later this year.

“Sharing the benefits of projects like Barossa is a meaningful step we can take towards closing the gap,” Gallagher said.

The details are intended to be finalised in consultation with Aboriginal leaders and other stakeholders prior to the commencement of production. Benefits can only be shared as the Barossa development progresses, which is subject to regulatory approvals.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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