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 enormous response from potential passengers, just from the publicity this project has received. Great Southern Rail expects passenger numbers to increase from about 35 000 to 50 000 a year, and is working on packages to encourage tourists to visit regional centres along the route. Once the Alice Springs to Darwin rail link is complete, that number is expected to rise to 85 000. Alice Springs has already established a reputation as a world-class tourist destination. Our challenge is to use the opportunities provided by the Ghan to increase berth nights and attracting tourists. However, companies will not win these sorts of contracts by sitting on their hands. They must register with the NTISO and ensure that they are as reliable, as competitive, and as committed to quality standards as interstate companies also looking for opportunities with the many projects on the horizon. As well as contracts, of course, Alice Springs people have the chance to work on the railway as long as they have registered their interest with ADrail. Furthermore, the government and the consortium will undertake an economic study of Alice Springs to examine the business opportunities for small and medium businesses once the rail is completed. Let me now move north to Tennant Creek where the commencement of works has had a major impact on the economic fortunes of the town. Everywhere you go in Tennant Creek you see people walking around with a lift in their step. Morale is good, business is good. One contractor told me that for the first time since he commenced his business in the town, he is getting calls from tradesmen from around the country looking for work with his company. In previous times, he would get no response when he advertised nationally for tradesmen to help him in his work. I know that freight centres will be established in Tennant Creek and in Katherine. Already, the Asia Pacific consortium is assessing Tennant Creeks potential in this regard. With the completion of the railway, I look forward to further studies, if not already commenced, for Mount Isa to link in with Tennant Creek. It is the logical addition to the north- south line. After all, Mount Isa is closer to Tennant Creek than Townsville. In summary, the railway provides many great opportunities, but opportunities will not go to those who sit and wait for them. They have to be created, and I urge all Alice Springs and Tennant Creek people to think about how they can capitalise on the opportunities created by this great project. I want to thank and congratulate all the people involved with this project to date. In the early days of proposing the railway, the likes of Roger Vale, previous chief ministers and our present Chief Minister whose tenacity ensured that the project stayed on track and brought it to fruition. In particular, I thank Barry Coulter whose untiring efforts over many years were the ultimate glue that kept the whole project together. I look forward to a prosperous time for the Northern Territory, and in particular the Central Australian region, during this construction phase in the opening up of the country following completion of the rail. Mr Speaker, I support the statement. Motion agreed to; statement noted. APPROPRIATION BILL 2001-2002 (Serial 308) Continued from 30 May 2001. Mr LUGG (School Education): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Treasurers budget and to expound a little on how it affects my own district, that is the rural area near Darwin, as well as the agencies in my portfolio. The 2001-02 NT budget delivered by Treasurer Mike Reed underscores the commitment this government has to building and maintaining world-class teaching resources and facilities across the NT. Before I detail how the $354.7m education budget will consolidate the good work of this government over successive budgets, I wish to outline some exciting initiatives planned for the electorates of Nelson and Goyder. These include: $7.5m to complete the Girraween pre- and primary schools; $1.7m towards the Amhem Highway/Stuart Highway intersection upgrade; the Stuart Highway/Cox Peninsula intersection will also be upgraded at a cost of $lm, which will include protected turning lanes, upgraded street lighting and directional signage; and $4.7m towards the construction of Wickham Point Road which will lead to the Middle Arm Peninsula industrial precinct. This is the future site of natural gas-based industries. These are all fantastic commitments from this government to preserve the lifestyle of Territorians and boost our community infrastructure. Turning to the Department of Education, the 2001-02 budget has been increased by $9.4m to $354.7m. This is my second budget speech to parliament covering the School Education portfolio. Throughout the 2000-01 financial year, the focus on quality education has been directly on the classroom. 7779