Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997

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Parliamentary Record 32


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




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 - Wednesday 23 April 1997 we will investigate the possibility of selling. How else is it to be interpreted? The government has chosen the path of considering the possible sale of these assets over the next 2 years, if the market is right, if the returns are correct and if it is clear that benefits will accrue to Territorians. Anyone with a major asset to sell would naturally make those assessments, and Territorians would expect that those assessments would be made. The member for MaeDonnell is suggesting otherwise. He suggests we should put an advertisement in the paper tomorrow to sell the Ayers Rock Corporation and the Trade Development Zone, regardless of the return we may obtain. That demonstrates the appalling economic management that would result from a Labor government. One does not simply sell major assets of that kind without first assessing the market or without assessing the means by which they might be sold. This is a responsible and necessary way to go. There is only one responsible course of action that can be taken, and that is the one I have indicated today. The member for MaeDonnell made some very vague references that gave a clear indication that he had not fully researched what he would say here today. Mr Bell: We do not have a Freedom o f Information Act, so I cannot. Mr REED: You do not need a Freedom o f Information Act because what you are talking about is visitation to a Commonwealth national park. You would be aware that the Commonwealth has freedom of information legislation and, if you think it works, you would not have the problem you have just alluded to. Get your facts right and have a little better understanding of what freedom of information means. Ayers Rock happens to be in your electorate and, if you were familiar with the number of visitors to what is a major attraction in your electorate, you would know the figures off the cuff and you would not have to come in here making excuses to us. The figures that the member for MaeDonnell quoted equated to the total tourism visitor numbers to the Northern Territory at that time rather than those to Ayers Rock. I would have expected him to be a little more familiar with what is happening. Let us look at what he had to say in relation to private sector investment at Ayers Rock - that there was really no need for the government to become involved. If the government had not become involved, I dare say that visitors to Ayers Rock would still be staying in demountables there. I recall visiting Ayers Rock with my wife and mother-in-law in the early 1980s. There was a piece of carpet in the demountable that we stayed in and, in those days, that was interpreted as being a hotel. If you did not wish to walk around the carpet in the middle of the room, you fell through the floor. I am sure visitors to Ayers Rock at this time, who stay at the Ayers Rock Resort, would be more appreciative of the standard of accommodation and service. Benefits accrue from that to the Northern Territory tourism industry. The facility of the Ayers Rock Resort has been initiated and developed thanks to the governments involvement. It has grown to be very successful and has generated jobs for people who work at the resort and who are, of course, now constituents of the member for MaeDonnell. Why doesnt he recognise those benefits that accrue to Territorians? Why doesnt he recognise that the enormous amount of money that is now directed to running the Ayers Rock Resort brings benefits to the broader Territory economy in the form of the provision of goods and services by the companies that participate in that process? Why doesnt he recognise that, in the Ayers Rock Resort, the Territory now has an internationally recognised quality resort that is a significant, indeed essential, component 11405