Territory Stories

Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government

Details:

Title

Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government

Creator

Hawthorne, Marilyn; Northern Territory Library. Parliamentary Library Service

Collection

Research Papers; ParliamentNT; Research paper; no. 2

Date

2000

Notes

Contact Library & Archives NT for this resource; Made available by via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Language

English

Subject

Railroads -- Northern Territory; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Railway

Publisher name

Northern Territory Library

Place of publication

Darwin

Series

Research paper; no. 2

File type

application/pdf

Use

Atttribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government

License

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Parent handle

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/83440

Citation address

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/356590

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Page content

sealed highways. Page 311 My point, of course, is that none but the most visionary could have seen this development prior to the railway's construction. This proves little but that cost-benefit analysis is easier in retrospect, but it does indicate the care that is needed to ensure that analysis leads to the right conclusion. What a crying shame for the Territory and Australia that, in this case, the required conclusion led to the analysis which makes up this report. All Territorians must reject it totally as a sham. It is simply another talon of the Hawke - the Hawke hell-bent on bringing this Territory to heel. I have never in my public life quoted from the Bible but I do so now because the impact of this report on the people of the Northern Territory is best summed up in the Book of St John, chapter 11, verse 35. I quote it in its entirety: 'Jesus wept'. Mr FINCH (Wagaman): Mr Speaker, after a short but very pleasant trip down the road, I would like also to take the opportunity to put in my tuppence worth on the so-called independent economic inquiry into rail transport. Like many others, I have not had time to study and fully comprehend the report from cover to cover. My conservative engineering background would lead me normally to make a detailed, digested analysis before providing critical comment. However, I would not like to miss out on this final opportunity to put forward at least my personal overview. Much has already been said about the details of the report in relation to its contents and also to the methodology used and many other aspects. It is not my intention to elaborate on those details although I will take the opportunity later in the discussion to take up a few points put forward by other honourable members. Whilst the details of the report have been justifiably criticised, my main concern is that the report misses out on some fairly basic and fundamental points. It is acknowledged in major engineering projects of this kind that we need to undertake careful and comprehensive detailed planning prior to making decisions. This report, however, is both short and narrow-sighted and falls well below my expectations. Some criticism has been levelled at the Northern Territory government as to the extent of details submitted but, if you put it into perspective, in 4 months, we were expected to comment on a project which would have had ramifications well past the turn of the century. It would be rather optimistic to expect the submission to be totally comprehensive. Despite these shortfalls, I believe that there was sufficient evidence to justify the project on its own short-term viability. By 'short-term', we mean about 10 or 20 years and whether we talk about plus and minus 10% on population growth, on mining development potential and all sorts of other factors that have been considered really is insignificant. What we need to do is to stand back and look at the whole potential of the railway in full perspective. My concern is that we should evaluate the railway project in toto. The railway is of national and long-term significance. It is not only a rail corridor that we should consider nor is it only the Northern Territory that we should consider, but the nation-wide economic effects, both outwards and inwards. It is not just the assessment through to 1987 or 2002 or any other year in what I would call the short term to which we should be addressing ourselves but the implications far into the future. We need to look at the cost, not only what the total cost would be to Australia, but the Page 312 short-term cost in perspective and compare it to such projects as the Sydney Opera House, the Snowy Mountains Scheme or even the national deficit. We can see that $300m-$400m is a relatively insignificant figure.


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