Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 31 May 2001



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 31 May 2001

Other title

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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Thursday 31 May 2001 time. I suggest she probably needs to drive along it rather than fly over it to get a real feel for what is out there in terms of pot holes, corrugations and general pain-in-the-butt features on the road. I have made arguments previously about this. Unless we spend $6m on 70 km of that road - not to bitumise it, just to bring the road level back up so that it doesnt flood for long periods after heavy rain - we are going to have road closures on the Tanami Road year after year. That will not only discomfort the communities, it will also cut production in the gold mines and therefore the royalty payments through to this government. It is all very well for the Minister for Transport and Works to get up and say We have spent $10m on this road. It is what the money has been spent on that I am taking issue with. If that money has been used for patrolled grading and the cheaper options, what you are doing is scouring out a deeper and deeper drain for water to lie in and shut the road off. It is all very well to spend money but you have to spend it to good effect. The independent civil engineering report says quite clearly we have to do some serious road building along those sections of the road to bring the road surface up to where it should be above the level of the surrounding country so that water drains away from the road rather than draining into the road. Then we might be able to keep the road open for the bulk of the wet season, with perhaps one or two or three or four day closures from time to time because the surface becomes too greasy or can be too furrowed out by heavy transport. If water is draining away from a raised road surface, the matter becomes one of days rather than one of weeks. That is what we have to get to as the first cut in this. If the NT government does that, they can then approach the mines and say Righto, lets seal the thing and make this a permanent job. We have to do our part because the government has definitely got a responsibility for the Tanami Road. Of other roads in my electorate, the Nyrripi Road needs 35 km of total rebuild - in fact a relocation of that part of the road. It is basically a sandy creek bed and a really nice place to camp now because you can put your swag down in the sand in the middle of the road and its nice and soft and you can light a fire next to it. But it is no bloody good if you are trying to drive along it. We need to have a look at all those secondary roads and get some systematic work done on them. The Yuendumu water supply. I welcome the Mt Eclipse bore drilling program and the plan to mix water sources so we can get those boron and uranium levels down to levels that are definitely safe rather than claimed to be safe. Some very worrying reports came out of some of the bore water analyses. I point out that if youre going to fix Yuendumu, you should fix Ti Tree, because that has 40mg per litre of uranium in the water there, almost 40% above that at Yuendumu. If Yuendumu is worth fixing, you need to do something about Ti Tree as well. Kalkarindji Power Station - I welcome that work as part of flood recovery. I believe a lot of that money will be reimbursed by the federal government. Three-quarters of it should be. It gives us a chance to get the power station out of the flood area and up where it will be out of harms way. With those few remarks, I shall complete my speech. Mr MITCHELL (Millner): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to support the budget handed down by the Treasurer. I think the reaction from the opposition was predictable but I was pleased to see some of the members over there acknowledge some of the positives that they could not really ignore. I pick up on what the member for Wanguri had to say earlier about the extra S80 000 in taxi rebates, for instance. That is a welcome addition to the budget. Quite a number of people who live in my area - this is both pensioners and disabled people - use those vouchers regularly so it was great to see that addition to the scheme. The budget is not one specifically designed as an election budget showering gifts. It is one that has been very responsible and based... Mr Elferink: Prudent. Mr MITCHELL: And prudent. Call it prudent if you wish. It lays the foundations for huge developments that are about to hit the Northern Territory. I am not speaking just about the railway here. I am talking about oil and gas and how we get set for that. When you look at a number of items within the budget that are catering for that, such as the $4.5m on the road out to Wickham Point and a few other initiatives preparing for the imminent arrival of oil and gas in Darwin, it is very commendable. I believe that contracts worth $280m to Territory and South Australian suppliers and contractors were announced in April. That is on the railway alone. That is not a bad start for our economy to get well and truly back on the rails - quite literally. The port facility is coming up. I think we are spending in the vicinity of $60m out at the port. That in itself is major infrastructure work in Darwin alone. I would like to go through some of the regional highlights because I know that this will affect many people in my constituency. An obvious one is the $2m on the communications area for the police. It will provide better response times to incidents such 7807