NT sets sight on new normal

THE Northern Territory’s minerals industry has cautiously welcomed the announcement by Chief Minister Michael Gunner that most COVID-19 restrictions will be progressively eased across the territory.
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Gunner announced a roadmap that under which the territory adjusts restrictions in a staged and steady process.

While the NT's existing border security and quarantine arrangements will not change, stage one adjustments begin on May 1, for simple and safe outdoor activities although physical distancing must be maintained.

These include outdoor weddings and funerals; fishing, boating and sailing; and real estate open house inspections and auctions.

Playgrounds, parks and campgrounds outside biosecurity areas and public swimming spots will also reopen.

Two weeks later stage two adjustments will be rolled out and places such as pubs, cafes, shopping centre food courts and gyms will be able to reopen.

From June 5 restrictions will be further eased.

Minerals Council NT executive director Drew Wagner said while industry welcomed the progressive removal of social restrictions, any changes to the industry's robust health and safety approach would be made cautiously and in close collaboration with government.

Wagner said the sector responded swiftly, cooperatively and professionally by putting operational protocols and management plans in place after the COVID-19 outbreak and would continue to keep workers, families and communities safe with strict protocols and the highest health and hygiene standards.

He said companies across the NT were operating close to or at capacity in this abnormal environment with leading practice protocols and management plans in place, and many were pitching in to help local communities as well.

Wagner said the mining sector would remain the cornerstone of the NT economy.

"Following the territory's emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic, the best possible regulatory structure needs to be put in place to support jobs and industry growth, provide certainty for future investment and put the NT in a prime globally competitive position," he said.

"This includes faster regulatory approvals, removal of red tape and an effective and predictable approach to environmental protection which balances the need to protect the unique territory environment with creating sustainable local jobs and stronger communities."

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