Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999

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Parliamentary Record 20


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 - Tuesday 23 November 1999 that. There will be business opportunities. There will be potential for other industries to link in. People will be offered jobs. There will be other people coming from interstate to fill the jobs if we do not have sufficient people here. I just ask the opposition to stop being so negative about it. Get behind the government. Start encouraging businesses to register their interest in this particular project and keep encouraging them to work with the government. I support the Chief Ministers statement. Mr ELFERINK (MacDonnell): Mr Speaker, I commend the Chief Minister on his statement today, and commend the Chief Minister and the CLP government on this most excellent project. Quite frankly, when I listen to what the members opposite have to say in relation to it, I am absolutely thunderstruck. I am not entirely sure after hearing some of the things I have heard today that we are talking about the same project. It is worth remembering that, when we come into this Chamber and talk about these projects and talk about the Northern Territory, a whole world out there takes notice of what goes on. I dare say it takes a whole lot more notice of what goes on in this Chamber than some of the members in this Chamber from time to time. When they stand here and pour their derision over these projects, they are shaking the confidence of people to invest in the Northern Territory. These guys put themselves up as the alternative government. They come in here and it is just one diatribe after another about how bad the Northern Territory is under the CLP regime and how dreadful the outcomes for the Northern Territory are. I can tell you that, having lived in the Northern Territory for 30 years and enjoyed the government of the CLP for 25 of those 30 years, the growth in the Northern Territory under the leadership of the CLP has been absolutely profound. Many of the members opposite have come to the Northern Territory to enjoy its lifestyle, have come here to enjoy the product of that CLP government. But still they want to pour their derision over the very lifestyle that the CLP government helped create. This is a $ 1200m project in which we of the Northern Territory invest $165m. I can tell you right now that if I could get that sort of return for my investments on a personal level, I would be delighted. $ 165m, and we get $ 1200m out. Off the top of my head, thats about a 500% gain. I heard the member for Fannie Bay, the Leader of the Opposition, come into this Chamber and pour her derision, saying the expenditure per head of population is much greater for Territorians. Well, its a fact of life that this project is being built in the Northern Territory. Another fact of life is that Northern Territorians per head of population, as a result of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, receive as I recall about 500% on the Australian average. The income-earning capacity of Territorians under the Commonwealth grants review system means that we have much greater income. Ill give an example. If I was to go out and purchase a house for $100 000 on $20 000 a year, I would be taking on a much greater burden than if I was going to go and pay the same amount of money for the same house and I earned $100 000 a year. Its okay to sit here and say on one hand that we proportionately represent the amount that each Territorian is taking on, but if you dont look at it next to income then youll never get a true picture of whats occurring. And thats exactly what the Leader of the Opposition was arguing. On top of this $ 1200m project, theyre going to increase the size of the port. This port will become the northern terminus for much of the industrial base of south-eastern Australia. Its going to be increased in size, I think, to the tune of another $ 100m on top of that. So thats very good. It reminds me of Emperor Claudius when he wanted to build a port 60 leagues, I think it was, away from Rome. People said, Oh, you cant do that!, even back then. The Senate was grumbling and grizzling about it. He had to force it through his own Senate. By the end of his reign, the port that he built turned out to be one of the best income-producing sources for the city of Rome and the empire. Why? Because it created a single point for the entire known worlds trade to pour through. As Ive pointed out in this Chamber before, history is absolutely full of stories of areas of almost nothing becoming incredibly rich places, simply because they became focal points for trade. Take Hong Kong or Singapore. Singapore sits on mudflats, very similar to the mudflats we have around Darwin. Abu Dhabi sits on a desert peninsula that pokes into the Persian Gulf. Theres nothing there except one great shining tower of glass next to another. This railway that were about to build will make Darwin another of those focal points for trade. We would be absolute mugs if we did not stand up and applaud this project for creating wealth in Darwin and ultimately for the whole of the Northern Territory. Thats something Id like to pass comment on a little later. Some 1.2 million tonnes per annum, initially, 4758

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