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 railway, while the last two form FreightLink, the operating company. The partners of the Asia Pacific Transport Company will bring new demand into the Territory economy, together with their capital, and new ideas or intellectual capital on how to do business globally. Companies such as Kellogg Brown & Root with their Halliburton parent not only have interests in transport construction and operations, but extensive interests in energy, among others. Equally, it is good to see companies like Barclay Mowlem involved. Barclay Mowlem has operated in the Territory for over 40 years and has a first class reputation in railway construction. So we have a perfect partnership: private sector money and expertise, and a forward-thinking government which has provided financial and infrastructure support. The beneficiaries of this alliance will be all Territorians. Behind these names, however, are some outstanding people, people of the calibre of Dick Cheney, the American Vice-President who previously headed up Halliburton, and the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Transport Company, Malcolm Kinnaird. There are people such as Peter Gunn who I met for the first time this week. Peter is a legend in the Australian transport world and Executive Chairman of FreightLink, the company that will operate the new line when it opens in 2004. Peter clearly has a strong personal commitment to the railway which he describes as a national project that had to happen. I was reassured to hear Peter talk about how Freightlinks business will be developed because it so clearly complements the Northern Territory Governments long-standing vision of creating Darwin as a regional service, supply and distribution centre. He outlined three aspects of freight that will be critical for the successful operation of the railway. The first is to transfer a significant amount of the freight task from road to rail. However, the railway will foster regional development and link areas such as the Ord River, creating new freight routes for the road transport industry. Peter is also interested in reintroducing the piggyback system where trucks could, say, bring in produce from the Ord River to Katherine then be driven straight onto trains to provide quick transhipment. Freightlinks second aim is to develop land bridge freight through the Port of Darwin which will boost exports of everything from South Australian tuna to Territory agricultural produce. However, as Peter says, the reed opportunity lies in the third area which is to develop Darwin as a service centre for imports. At present, companies such as Pacific Dunlop bring goods from Asia which may take six to eight weeks to arrive in Melbourne warehouses depending on whether ships call in at Brisbane, Sydney or Auckland on the way. It then has to be prepared for the shop floor and sent out again. Peter sees enormous opportunities for this type of freight to come into Darwin where it can be processed and sent to southern markets. The competitive edge will come from an efficient supply chain approach, our strategic location, the lack of congestion around the port, reduced warehousing costs and the development of complementary industries. This supports the long-term plan of the Northern Territory government in developing multimodal transport capabilities in the Territory and value added activities which capitalise on our strategic location and long-term ties with our Asian neighbours. Honourable members will recall that in 1996 the government released its Darwin 2010: The Multi-Modal Transport and Logistics Hub strategy, which identified Darwin as playing a pivotal role in the future of Australia by the 2 1st century and serving as a linchpin in trade, communications and transport, linking Australia and the dynamic markets of Asia. In 1999, the government released its Foundations For Our Future strategy which is driving the social and economic future of the Territory. A key component of that strategy is the goal of making Darwin the distribution, service and supply centre of the region. The railway is bringing significant Australian and multinational expertise to the Territory and the construction industry is on the verge of a boom. The railway and port developments are particularly significant because the world of freight logistics is changing rapidly. We are moving into an era of seamless intermodal freight networks, integrated logistics solutions and computerised intelligent transport systems. This is where the expertise of the consortiums FreightLink operating arm is significant. The future of freight is multimodal, providing an efficient, integrated, door-to-door service, just-in- time delivery, and mobile warehousing. There are signs that freight and shipping companies are realising the potential of this new trade route across Australia and factoring the railway and port developments into their forward plans. Our future as Australias Asian gateway will be supported by a strong logistics focus with the government encouraging complementary investment in value- adding activities that complement the railway, the port, and the new trade route. 7756