Territory Stories

Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017



Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2712 Tourism is a competitive industry, domestically and internationally, and we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal when it comes to enhancing tourism products, developing new products and promoting these offerings to the world. We cannot take our foot off the pedal when it comes to getting out there and supporting those in regional areas, including Aboriginal business owners, to create tourism experiences. There are lots of people who have great ideas that would create jobs and continue to bring visitors to the Territory. Our parks are beautiful and we need to make sure they have the right infrastructure to cater for visitors parking, walking trails, shelters, toilets and so on. This all takes planning and investment. We have seen a number of investments to Litchfield National Park, for example, to cater for the significant number of visitors through that park every yearMataranka Hot Springs and Watarrka National Park, to make those beautiful spaces and spots more visitor friendly. The Northern Territory Governments 2017 budget included $10m into Nitmiluk National Park to improve the visitor experience there, which was done in conjunction with Jawun. We are investing in new mountain bike trails, which is another great way to attract visitors to the Territory. It is a growing marketa growing community across the globeand we want to capitalise on this too. We have a lot to offer in this regard. We are a unique destination. We need to make sure we are able to invest in this really important economic sector. The flow-on of that has benefits for our local communities, local operators and other local businesses. Less GST revenue from the federal government means less investment, not only in those vital service areas of health and education but also in these projects for regional areasarts and culture, tourism experiences and productthat present job prospects for Territorians. At a time when the federal government says it wants to develop the north it should be looking at working with us to open up these opportunitieswe still have so many untapped opportunities in the Territorynot reducing our revenue. Significant investment into our arts and cultural offerings is about recognising and celebrating the worlds oldest living culture and its connection to this ancient land. It is about supporting the centres that are important parts of our communities. I spoke about the Telstra awards and how one of the winners talked about the art centres being a part of the backbone of many of our communities. That is true. It is about supporting those centres and their activity, but it is also about developing these assets in such a way that they can attract visitors from all around the world to experience this incredible culture for themselves. We have some ambitious and important cultural projects under way. The National Aboriginal Art Gallery, a national Aboriginal cultural centre in Alice Springs, the fine arts gallery in State Square, the Museum of the Northern Territory at Myilly Point, and our investment in our arts trail have flow-on benefits that go the length and breadth of the Territory. These are important game-changing projects that will dramatically enhance our major and regional centres. They will drive economic opportunity and jobs for Aboriginal Territorians as well as provide a significant boost to those important industries in the Territory. They require significant infrastructure investment and ongoing operational funding to succeed. The federal government talks about Closing the Gap and Developing the North. Investing in our tourism and cultural industries will contribute to both these policy agendas but neither will be possible without adequate funding. Any diminishment of our GST will jeopardise these critical projects and their potential to open up new economic development opportunities for Aboriginal communities. The economic value of Aboriginal art and culture to Australia, specifically to the Territory, is under review, a piece of work jointly funded by the federal government and all state and territory governments. I expect it will say that it is significantly higher than we have ever realised. It will give us the latest data on the true value of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art industry to the whole Australian economy. Less GST seriously impacts on our ability to support the tourism, cultural and creative industries. This will impact on our communities and our tourism operators and their ability to deliver great visitor experiences. It means less capacity to invest in our 87 parks and reserves, 33 of which are managed in partnership with Aboriginal traditional owners under joint management arrangements. Aboriginal ranger groups across the Territory play a crucial frontline role in conservation and natural resource management, as well as the protection and preservation of our natural assets. Most of these groups are under-resourced to tackle the scale of the management tasks with which they are faced. That is why the