Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government
Hawthorne, Marilyn; Northern Territory Library. Parliamentary Library Service
Research Papers; ParliamentNT; Research paper; no. 2
Contact Library & Archives NT for this resource; Made available by via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)
Railroads -- Northern Territory; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Railway
Northern Territory Library
Research paper; no. 2
Atttribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Northern Territory Government
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into the field. It is not just a matter of projecting, as the report does, the production of the known and established mines. There is a great unknown out there which will remain a great unknown until there is some realistic incentive to find out. The honourable member for Millner mentioned limitations on the Plenty River and Frances Creek mines. They are simply temporarily suspended due primarily to current marketability. I'll bet that, before my toes turn up, mines will be rejuvenated. One has only to look at what is happening at Pine Creek where developments in mining technology and marketability have rejuvenated mining. I am sure there will be many other examples of this. The completion of the rail transport link will be vital to the long-term development of the resources of this rich country. The Leader of the Opposition mentioned the potential contribution of the cement industry. In regard to the Argyle Mine, for example, the provision of accommodation and infrastructure would make no difference. In fact, accommodation provided in a neighbouring town would be of a higher standard than in any temporary mining village that might be provided on site. Further, he referred to the establishment of a ready-mix concrete company. Just for the record, I would like to enlighten the honourable Leader of the Opposition on the difference between cement and concrete. There is no way that a ready-mix concrete company can do other than use approximately 20% of raw cement in its product. Raw cement, as a matter of interest, is manufactured by a 2-stage process. Only the last of those 2 stages has been mentioned and that was the mixing of clinker and gypsum to produce the final product. Clinker itself is manufactured primarily from limestone. One of the reasons that Northern Cement Pty Ltd is not fully manufacturing cement, aside from the size of the market, is the nonavailability of suitable limestone. I understand from information from the company that it is well down the line towards finding suitable deposits of limestone. Not only would a railway increase its markets, it would provide also a suitable transport system to deliver limestone to Darwin for the manufacture of full cement products. The plant has been designed, I understand, to take into account full kiln production. The layout can be extended should suitable products and suitable markets become available. It is of interest to know that already Northern Cement has exported to Queensland and Western Australia. In fact, it had trouble maintaining the supply requirement to Mt Isa during the recent Queensland floods. Page 314 Three honourable members mentioned that only 3 submissions were opposed to the rail project. Two of those had parochial and vested interests. The main opponent may very well be off the rails with his heavy- handed approach. Just the same, there is no doubt that, in the long term, a link also to his state and to the west would be desirable Australia-wide. Australia will not advance until it develops greater entrepreneurial skills. As any successful business entrepreneur will tell you, first you do your homework on the identifiable markets to see if you are in the right ball park. But, you do not expect to see any long-term potential until you have provided the basic facilities. It is a matter of putting the horse before the cart. As a transport operator, the honourable member for Nhulunbuy would appreciate that there is no point sizing up how much freight to put in the cart until you have bought the horse. In our case, the railway is the horse. In conclusion, federal governments, and particularly the current federal government, have been big on reports such as the independent economic inquiry. But this government is not so big when it comes to action. It is very easy for governments to divert from their true and proper direction by calling for more reports. We need men of vision to lead the way. We do not need them with tunnel vision and closed minds.
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