Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 31 May 2001



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 31 May 2001

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Parliamentary Record 28


Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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 31 May 2001 development. Queensland enjoyed opening of great tracts of land for mining when its previous conservative government ensured development of rail to service the mines - just one of the factors that changed Queensland from its backwater status to being one of the most successful states in terms of population and industry. I suggest that the railway will not only help with extractive industries in the remote outback of the Territory, it will encourage opening of land for agriculture. Transportation of fresh food will be less of a problem now. Horticulture in Central Australia, particularly around Ti Tree, is now a commercial reality. The rail link will make harvest more practicable. Water resources in Central Australia are now well defined and government exploration continues to map out other water resources. I understand that the real success of the railway is not dependent on passenger traffic. The success of the railway will be dependent on the volume of freight moved, however with the completion of the railway grid through the nation, train buffs from all over the world will flock to experience the ride of a lifetime; one that would equal any in the world, probably in greater comfort and personal safety. The budgeted expenditure for Tennant Creek, as the Chief Minister said earlier, is $95.2m for now and for Alice Springs, $68.3m. Work on a sleeper factory providing valuable employment has already begun in Tennant Creek. Alice Springs will become the supply and logistic base for the railway. ADrail, the company building the railway, expects to bring 300 000 tonnes of construction material by train to Alice Springs, including 144 000 tonnes of rail from Whyalla. A transhipment centre will be built in Alice Springs to facilitate the transfer of this enormous amount of freight from rail to road trains, taking material to Katherine and Tennant Creek. The local transport sector should be well positioned to benefit from this opportunity. Indeed, if I were in the transport industry I would be gearing up to cope with the workload. If I were not big enough on my own to cope with the freight contracts, then I would be joining forces with other local companies to reach a size capable of competing effectively. The Chief Minister said that 1300 jobs will be created during the construction period throughout the Territory with many flow-on benefits in regional centres. Expenditure in the Territory is expected to be in excess of $400m. Already you have seen contracts go to Alice Springs firms. One of the earliest was a contract to Gorey and Cole, a contractor carrying out water bore drilling for the project. In building the railway, several sources of water are required to ensure the proper compaction of earthworks along the railway alignment. This is a company which was established back in 1946 in Alice Springs and therefore has a wealth of valuable experience and knowledge in the drilling industry. The contract awarded to Territory Transportables is particularly significant in many respects. The companys proprietor, Tony Smith, realised the railway offered opportunities for companies prepared to use a bit of initiative. Realising he may not have the capability to win transportable contracts on his own, Tony took the advice of the Northern Territorys Industry Search and Opportunities Office and sought a joint venture partner. The contract was awarded to Territory Transportables and Western Transportables with most of the work happening in Alice Springs. In providing 200 transportable buildings to camps along the route, Tony expects to increase his workforce from 15 to 50. Naturally, there will be flow on effects to his suppliers. The first of these transportables will be delivered by July to Bluebush Bore, north of Tennant Creek, and The Bend near Mataranka. Camps will be established every 100km along the route and will move every few weeks as work progresses. Once more, Tonys participation in such a major contract is going to increase his companys capabilities. He has clearly demonstrated that Territory companies can be competitive and there is no reason why companies such as Territory Transportables, which has expertise with remote area supplies, cannot supply other major projects associated with mining and oil and gas developments. There will be opportunities during the manufacturing phase for local suppliers of steel, hardware for general building content, electrical and soft furnishings. The flow on effect also includes transport subcontractors to supplement Territory Transportables fleet with everything from fuel, tyres and mechanical repairs necessary to keep the trucks constantly on the move over the next 214 years. As the project grows over the next 12 months so, too, will the workforce required and that is good news for Central Australia. Tourism is big business in the Centre and any increase in visitor numbers to the area is good news for those in the fields of tourism and hospitality. As the Chief Minister mentioned, $100 000 has been allocated to investigate passenger and tourist requirements associated with the rail project. There will be significant opportunities for Alice Springs once the rail is completed. The Ghan tourist train will extend its journey to Darwin, which should bring in many new tourists. The operators of the Ghan have received an 7778