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 might arise from the establishment of a new trade route with Asia. Katherine and Tennant Creek, being the construction centres, will gain immediate benefits from the commencement of construction. These centres will see very large concrete sleeper manufacturing plants established, with Tennant Creeks plant the biggest in the southern hemisphere, and Katherine not far behind. It is pleasing to see former workers from production centres like the Tanami and Mount Todd getting work on the project. This is what it is all about: ensuring benefits from the project get down to individuals and their families. The Local Industry and Aboriginal Participation Plan by the consortium has as its first priority giving work to Territorians. The Territory Construction Association is working with ADrail to identify labour and training requirements. The TCA has been liaising with the Northern Territory Employment and Training Authority to ensure NTETAs budget and training plan accommodates training needs arising from the railway. It is important to note that Aboriginal employment and training is an important aspect for the project, together with the provision of opportunities for Aboriginal interests to win contracts for aspects of the work, either alone or as joint venturers. My government wants to see the project leave a lasting legacy for the economic and social benefit of the Territory, and Aboriginal employment and training is important in this regard. We will be working closely with the consortium and the Commonwealth through the Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business to ensure that this occurs. I welcome the role the Northern and Central Land Councils will play in facilitating Aboriginal employment on the project. I also want to note that the project provides, through the consortium, equity to Aboriginal people with land interests along the corridor, again facilitated by the land councils. This aspect of the consortiums proposal was an important consideration among a number of factors behind the governments decision to award Asia Pacific Transport Consortium preferred status in 1999. Of course, this project is also about maintaining the record of the government in terms of economic and population growth. There is no doubt that individuals and their families will relocate to the Territory where they will see that the opportunities are not restricted to rail construction, but that there are future opportunities which make the Territory a great place to invest, live, work and do business. Freight centres will be established at Katherine and Tennant Creek, with the Asia Pacific Transport Consortium already assessing this potential in Tennant Creek. The railway will consolidate Darwin as the transport and logistics hub for an international region whose reach covers our near neighbours such as Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and as far afield as China, Korea and Japan together with southeastern Australia, particularly the Melboume- Adelaide axis. For the record I want to restate just a few facts. In brief, the project entails: the construction of a new 1410 km $1.3bn line - including rolling stock - between Alice Springs and Darwin, which is the last link in the national rail network; the leasing of the existing 830 km standard gauge line from Tarcoola to Alice Springs; integration with Darwins new East Arm Port - the $100m first stage opened in February last year and the second stage, worth $73m, is due to open in early 2004 when the first train will cross an embankment to an intermodal container terminal. Now that financial close has occurred, the financial arrangements for the project can be placed on the record. The total capital cost will be $1312.5m. This includes a government works contract for $427.5m. For the balance of the works, known as the company works and totalling $885m, which includes $80m for initial rolling stock, the funding arrangements are in two parts. The first part is essentially a construction facility provided by the banks to fund construction. At the end of construction this facility will be replaced with debt and equity. The details of this are as follows: AustralAsia Railway Corporation loan, $50m; term (senior bank debt) facility, $49 lm (including $80m for initial rolling stock); subordinated debt, $105m; joint venturer equity, $239m; total, $885m. Under these arrangements for the company works, the governments are providing a standby facility on commercial terms as follows: the Territory is providing $5.05m by way of subordinated debt, to be matched by the Commonwealth; South Australia is providing $26.4m in subordinated debt through the South Australian Government Financing Authority. Both of these debt provisions will be required by the project and will be tradeable in the marketplace. The Territory and the Commonwealth have also committed to share equally in underwriting some equity and contingent equity, should this be required, as follows: government equity of $ 17.7m ($8.85m per government); government contingent equity of $25m ($ 12.5m per government). The underwriting commitment on equity for the government compares with the total equity provision of $239m. The underwriting commitment on 7758