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 and Central Land Councils as representatives of the Aboriginal interests involved a compensation package that included $3m for land compensation; $2.4m for the cost of rail impact; replacement housing; a community development package of $2.4m; and contributions to the land council costs of 0.5m. In addition, the agreement provides for 99 plus 99 year leases over Aboriginal land, withdrawal of Aboriginal land claims over the corridor, 198 year Crown leases over the balance of the corridor, non-extinguishment principle to apply in the case of native title; discussions between land councils and consortia over opportunities for regional communities; adoption of principles by consortia over matters such as Aboriginal employment and training; and tender opportunities for the provision of goods and services for the project. On 12 December 1998, with agreement being reached between the NT government and the Northern and Central Land Councils, stage 2 of the submission process was given the all clear and the 3 short listed consortia began in earnest to compile their detailed submissions. The corporation worked closely with the 3 short listed consortia whilst adhering to strict probity protocols and supporting the growth of competitive attention. Consortia were encouraged in their bidding by the commitment of the NT and SA governments to contribute to the losing bidders costs. The availability of this funding provided comfort to consortia that they could provide the best bid possible whilst reducing their cost exposure. Three submissions from the short listed consortia were received on 31 March 1999, and a detailed evaluation began immediately. All in all, more than 35 people have been involved in assisting the board of the corporation in the evaluation of the bids. The evaluation process involved presentations and clarifications from the consortia and has been of high intensity. The board of the AustralAsia Railway Corporation presented its final report recommending a preferred consortium. Negotiations towards a final agreement were successfully concluded by the AustralAsia Railway Corporation, and the Chief Minister successfully concluded negotiations for extra contributions by the 3 governments. Mr Speaker, we have a project and shortly it will begin. This is historically remarkable, because probably no other big project has ever been treated with such cynicism by Australians and even some Territorians, particularly those over there. But despite that cynicism the project is going ahead. We will have our railway. It is happening. Despite what the Leader of the Opposition says about training, it is clear that she is completely clueless in this area. Most of the training that involves big engineering projects does not come from training bodies. They are a part of the picture, sure, but they complement it; they dont kick start it. Contrary to what she may think, many ordinary Australians do - not work in the ABC or as trade union executives, or in teaching bodies unions - they work in the real world. They train as they go, and they get by with what they do. They train on the job. They make it happen. They are making it happen now. And they dont rely on third parties to provide all that for them. They do it for themselves. Wake up and smell the coffee, Mary Sunshine! We will have our railway. It is happening. I applaud the Chief Ministers efforts here and if we only had you to rely on nothing would happen here - nothing. I applaud the statement. Mr BURKE (Chief Minister): Mr Speaker, I thank the honourable members for their comments and the final contribution by the minister for corrections and member for Nelson with regards to explanations as to how some of the training will be delivered, but I will touch on that in my closing comments. I did want to pick up a couple of comments from the Leader of the Opposition. She made much about my failure, the governments failure, and the failure of our present Prime Minister to deliver equitably on this project. In terms of the Commonwealth, our miserly Prime Minister should have chipped in more. I would remind members and the public generally of this simple fact. From 1983 until 1996 there was a Labor government in Australia and during all of that period the railway project did not occur, got no support from the Federal Labor government in any tangible way. In fact, the Federal Labor government commissioned 2 reports, the Hill report in 1983-84 and also the Wran report, which worked very strongly to sink the project on both occasions. It has only been the efforts of the Territory government through, primarily, the member for Blain and officers of Transport and Works initially, which have got this project up and running again. There was then the support of a whole range of people in South Australia and the Northern Territory to bring the project to completion. Lets not forget in all of this the simple fact that the present Prime Minister, John Howard, was Prime Minister for only 4 years and through his efforts he has delivered this project to Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Lets not forget the 1983 to 1996 period. The Labor Party in the Northern Territory and the Australian Labor Party can crow as much as they like as to how much they have supported this 4771

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