Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 29 November 2000
Parliamentary Record 26
Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
QUESTIONS - Wednesday 29 November 2000 police for their initiative and the Department of Transport and Works for the installation of those red light cameras. It is important, I think, to reflect on just what can be achieved in terms of improving road safety as we approach the Christmas/New Year period. The Minister for Transport and Works, the Minister for Health, Family and Childrens Services and myself, together with police and other officers, will be launching the Christmas/New Year traffic enforcement campaign at lunchtime. I take this opportunity to ask all Territorians to drive with care over Christmas and not to tum Christmas into a tragedy, particularly if they are driving long distances, to heed the warnings that are put forward by police and other agencies, to ensure that they can come back and enjoy the great prosperity and opportunities that lie ahead for Territorians and the benefits that they will be able to derive from pursuing their lifestyle in a wonderful part of Australia. Capital Works Spending Mr AH KIT to TREASURER The Auditor-Generals report tabled yesterday highlights that the government underspent yet again its own capital works program by $14m. At a time when the Territory construction industry is suffering the worst downturn for years, with 1000 constmction workers laid off over the past year, firms screaming out for the government to expedite capital works, you underspent on your own capital works by $14m. How does the Treasurer justify yet another CLP broken promise, yet another year of underspent capital works, when the constmction industry is crippled with not enough work? ANSWER I do not know who wrote that for you, but you should be a bit smarter and read them before you stand up and ask the question. I think you have been set up. Mr Speaker, to avoid the poor member for Amhem being made too much of a goose, I will explain it to him. One would expect that, at the time a particular budget and overall capital works program is announced, the program must necessarily vary. It must vary for a number of reasons. It can vary for climatic reasons, for example, although not so much as it did in the past, because we have moved the budget back from July/August introduction to May, so that at the commencement of the financial year capital works activities can commence immediately and greater advantage can be taken of the dry season. That was implemented, of course, a number of years ago. Previously, departments did not know what funding they were getting and they lost most of the dry season in terms of benefit. There are other reasons. There may be design problems. There could be reasons for buildings or some other form of capital works being delayed, rolling from one financial year over to another. I dare say the circumstances are somewhat more transparent to others than they would be to the honourable member opposite. Only a couple of weeks ago, I turned the sod for the commencement of the forensic laboratory at the Berrimah police headquarters, the Peter McAulay Centre - a $6m project. And what is happening? The work is in progress. The straining fence is up and around, the foundations are being dug and it is employing people in the constmction industry. There is an enormous amount of work being undertaken as we speak at Alice Springs Hospital and also Royal Darwin Hospital. We have had discussions with the constmction industry to ensure that we can maximise opportunities in the capital works program to generate activity in the building sector. Yesterday in the Great Hall, after the swearing-in of the new Administrator, I was asked a member of the constmction industry: How you going? He said: Things are looking pretty good. That is a demonstration of confidence. The constmction industry has heaps of confidence, but the Labor Party, the seven dwarfs, have no confidence. To complete my story, this person said he was talking to the owner of a pre-stressed concrete manufacturing plant here in Darwin who has received a request to tender for, I think it was, 800 pre-stressed beams for the railway. They wont be required until March but the tender process is already in place. All that is happening on the railway at the moment is the works being commenced at Katherine, clearing for the constmction of the sleeper plant. It is very early stages, but already businesses are saying there are enormous opportunities that are only a couple of months away. They are aheady tendering on them. Just imagine, with 800 pre stressed concrete beams required from one factory, the enormous level of activity by that company. The mining of the sand, the production of the aggregate, the trucks that have to cart it there, and all of the other flow-on benefits that happen to be required to keep the trucks on the road - the tyres, the diesel mechanics, the front-end loaders - are just one small part of the railway project. That is why we have confidence in the Territory. That is why we have confidence in Territory business. That is why Territory business has confidence in us. And that is 1256
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