Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 3 March 1992



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 3 March 1992

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Parliamentary Record 9


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




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 - Tuesday 3 March 1992 Mr Hatton: Pretty close. Mr BELL: Apart from the environmental issues associated with increased visitation so close to the Rock, in many respects, the accommodation at Ayers Rock previously, whilst old, was more appropriate and gave people a feeling of being in the outback. Mr Perron: It sure did. Mr BELL: That is absolutely right. Maybe I am a bushie with my quirks of taste, but I liked staying at the Inland, at the Red Centre and at the Uluru. I liked the personal hospitality that I received from people like Ren Kelly and Barry Bucholz, who are the stalwarts of the tourist industry in the Territory. I frankly miss that personal association. Of course, the Whitlam 1974 report was right. I am not being starry-eyed about it. It is true that, if we had left those facilities there, we would have been in dreadful strife with the impact of increased visitation rates so close to the Rock. The move had to be made. To my mind, 2 facts are central to why Yulara has not been able to turn a quid, pay off infrastructure costs and generate enough revenue to pay for the jobs there. One is that there was an attempt at the outset of the project to amortise public facilities like the police station, the school etc. If the government had been a little more honest a little sooner, it might have received more sympathy in that regard. It was only when it was down the toilet to the tune of $450m that it started to say that. That was one issue. There has never been a satisfactory explanation of the rationale for the other problem - the mix of accommodation. The fact is that there is too much up-market accommodation and not enough of the kind that was so successful there before, in the form of the small places at the Rock. Obviously, they could not be replicated, but the emphasis has been laid on up-market tourist accommodation, the demand for which simply was not there. Why we made those mistakes has never been assessed. Answers should be forthcoming about that. An infinite number of studies were done into demand etc. Some 10% of visitors to the Rock are mum, dad and the kids, who have probably been camping on their travels and might like a night in a motel. The percentage of people who require up-market accommodation is not as great and has not grown particularly quickly. However, figures have not been presented, and the opposition has been left very much in the mushroom club in that regard. Let me turn to the question of local government at Yulara. This issue is of great concern to my constituents. I believe it is also of particular concern and interest to the Minister for Industries and Development and, if half of the stories about his visits to Yulara are to be believed, he manages to enjoy them immensely. Mr Hatton: I work hard too. Mr BELL: I will not give the obvious rejoinder to that. One of my great satisfactions as member for MacDonnell has been my association with people at Yulara and being what I regard as something of a handmaiden in respect of local government. I regard it is as one of my achievements as a member of this Assembly to have been able to persuade the then minister, Ray Hanrahan, that there should be elected members on the Yulara Town Advisory Board which, until that time, had been fully nominated 4091

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