Budget Paper No.6 1997/98 Northern Territory Economy
Tabled Paper 3223
Tabled Papers for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
industry tendering and resupply bases. The construction of the railway will accelerate activity in this regard. The Northern Territory Department of Transport and Works has forecast that cargo movements through the Port of Darwin will triple over the next fifteen years. Over the same period, cruise ship visits are projected to more than double and passenger numbers at Darwin Airport are expected to increase to 1.7 million per year from the present 855 000. This confirms the need for continued expansion of the Territorys transport infrastructure. Other more ambitious projects currently under investigation include a space base that has been proposed at Gunn Point, about 35 kilometres from Darwin, or another suitable site. An Environmental Impact Study is nearing completion and assessment of its viability is continuing. Innovative high speed freight vessels are also being developed to meet the needs of time-sensitive cargo. Transit times will be dramatically reduced, although they will require high volume, high value routes to make them economically viable. Communication The Territory has benefited more than most jurisdictions from the continued advancement of communications technology. The advent of teleconferencing and satellite communications has enabled government and other services in remote areas to be carried out more effectively than before. It has also helped reduce the barriers of distance experienced by many Territorians. The full benefits of this technology will be realised as its cost falls and developments expand its uses. The introduction of competition in the telecommunications market has resulted in reduced costs and an expanded range of available services. The major competitor to Telstra, Optus, has invested approximately $5.6 million in the Territory, mainly for six mobile phone base stations, and now offers long distance, mobile and satellite services. Optus also plans to provide a satellite pay television service in the Territory in mid 1997. Mobile phone services have now been expanded into Nhulunbuy and Tennant Creek. This is in addition to Darwin, Palmerston and surrounding areas, Katherine, Alice Springs and Yulara which were already covered. Darwin is presently serviced by three providers (Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone) and Alice Springs, Katherine and Yulara are serviced by two (Telstra and Optus). A variety of services are also provided via satellite to rural and remote Australia. Both Optus MobileSat and Telstras Satcom-M provide voice, fax and data transmission to the whole of Australia including 200 kilometres out to sea. Transport and Communications 84
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