Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999
Parliamentary Record 20
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 November 1999 Youre looking at, say in the Darwin port area, skills needed in construction of refrigerated warehousing and railway maintenance workshops. My concern is that, as Ive said before, a number of large construction projects in the other parts of Australia will be finishing in the middle of next year. There will be skills available nationally. What confidence can Territorians have that at least a reasonable number of those skills will be able to be developed here rather than seeing a rush to take those jobs by people whose work has finished interstate and have the skills and will just walk into those jobs? The forums concern was that, rather than having short-term employment for those interstaters, work needed to commence now to ensure jobs were filled by Territorians with long term employment opportunities emerging from the skills acquired during the construction phase. The forum was very concerned that the plans at this stage have not been put to the training providers. The training providers are not being asked whether they have the capacity to deliver the skills now, and what changes have to be made if we want to get the programs under way at the beginning of next year. The training providers... Mr Lugg inteijecting. Ms MARTIN: I look forward to the member for Nelsons contribution to this debate. The training providers were genuinely confident that training needs could be met. They felt that there were suitable courses available and genuine mechanisms in place. However, the big problem was funding. Commonwealth funding for training through NTETA was available to the Territory, but only if the trainee employment was available locally. With apprenticeships where practical, on- the-job training was needed, it was difficult to get that training before a project commenced. So we have problems. We have the need to think creatively about how we can get training up and running before some of the criteria that are currently established need to be met. There is a lot of lateral thinking needed here. Theres a lot of working with the Commonwealth and with funding providers to make sure that the existing structures that are around training can be flexible enough so that training packages can be put together. Maybe they will have to be, in part, outside the existing structures. This needs to be done now. Nobody has approached the training providers. Nobody has approached local government. Nobody has approached a whole raft of providers here, and those interested, to ask how we can work now. That is why we need a taskforce - to identify the elements of creating jobs for Territorians. There are many suggestions about what can be done now, not to mention enterprise and regional development. There are opportunities now for communities from Darwin down to Alice Springs to get those enterprises up and running. But its not going to happen at the last minute. We need to be planning now. We need to have such a taskforce that can identify those and work through it. Yet this is called negative by the Chief Minister - talking about job training for Territorians, about building a skills base here! How often have we heard in here and heard in the community that we dont have an adequate skills base in the Territory? This is the project for building that skills base, for projects in the future like the down streaming from LNG. This is our opportunity for Territorians who currently dont have jobs, who are involved in CDEP, to be able to get the skills to build the Territory, to build our prosperity. And this is called, by the Chief Minister and his deputy dog, Deadly, negativity. Well, jobs for Territorians is something that the CLP will be hearing about loudly and strongly from this side of the House. This is just the start. But we welcome very much this railway project. Mr BALDWIN (Industries and Business): It gives me great pride to rise in support of the Chief Ministers statement on the railway today. As he has said, the rail project is undoubtedly the most significant capital expenditure program ever undertaken in the Northern Territory, and the Deputy Chief Minister in his statement has outlined the logistics of this world class project. There are enormous quantities of materials to be shifted and there is an enormous construction program that will be undertaken in building not only the railway line but ancillary facilities like sheds and bridges and so on. The role of the government today is to ensure that the needs of Territorians, the consortium, and the expectations of federal government and that of the South Australian government are met in a timely fashion. Further, we owe it to our industry and business operators and to Territory taxpayers to ensure that the maximum benefit for their participation is undertaken in this historic project. During the finalising of a preferred consortium, that consortium was required to submit a plan to outline maximisation of local industry participation. As the Chief Minister has already outlined, the 4749
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