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 This statement signals 10 years of very positive and strong economic growth and enormous opportunities for Territorians. And what do we find? We find that the Labor Party cant even get excited about this. They cant even recognise the scope of it. I can understand it, because theyre a fairly feeble lot. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition raises concerns. He says they have a responsibility to ask how many jobs have been created - or at least the Leader of the Opposition did. Well, fair enough, you may have that responsibility. But why did the Leader of the Opposition have to embark on that process in a way that was negative, in a way that put the project down, and cast doubts in the minds of people, particularly in Alice Springs? It is nothing but mischief making, nothing but pure politics and endeavouring to try to get a few political points scored for the Labor Party in raising concerns, unnecessarily in Alice Springs in particular, that there might not be opportunities. And if that wasnt enough, of course, the Leader of the Opposition when the announcement was first made, in a deathly grasp of something negative, had to raise the spectre of how much per capita are we putting in and can we afford it, and why are we putting in more per capita? What a dreadful performance! What a negative Jane she is. She has no ability to get excited. I have been excited about this project and committed to it for years. In fact, in the lead up to the last Territory election I wrote to all of my constituents. I will table a copy of the letter. My confidence was such that it said the train was coming to Katherine, lets get together and build it, and that is the letter that I sent out to my constituents in the last election. It is not too late for the Leader of the Opposition to get excited about this project, to be committed to it, and to give it her full and committed support. I table a copy of that letter because it demonstrates the commitment of members on this side of the House to the project and how, in a positive presentation of it to Territorians, we have been able to make this project come to pass, to make it a success - and that has to be recognised. I take the point the honourable member from Nhulunbuy made in relation to the former member for Blain and his contribution to this project. It was enormous; it was most significant and instrumental in being able to get the project to where it is today. But I also remind the honourable member, he had a bit of a memory lapse, that just as the Leader of the Opposition has tried to scratch around and find something negative to try and put forward an anti- government sentiment, or the govemment-has-not done-it-right-attitude, and develop that in the community, that you did the same with the university. You opposed that when we wanted to build the university. You opposed the mooring basin. Ms Martin: What? Mr REED: You were not here then or you were off in journalism. But when the government wanted to build the mooring basin, you opposed that. You opposed Palmerston when it was promoted as a new initiative of government. You went out and asked people to vote no for statehood. With the greatest lifestyle pursuit in the Northern Territory, you did not want an improvement in recreational fishing by the closing of rivers to commercial fishing so we could all go and catch a barramundi. You were mean spirited enough to oppose that. Thats completely consistent with what youve done with the railway. Youve been negative. Youve scratched round for something to be able to criticise it. Sadly, we have come to expect it of you. There will be enormous opportunities for people to take advantage of this project, but its not going to come easy. People will have to get out there and sharpen their pencils. They will have to work hard to make sure that they are a part of it, but that is part of the commercial world today. The opportunity is there and that cant be denied, although it isnt recognised by the Leader of the Opposition. The other point that I should make is that from the point of view of those opportunities there are programs in place by the consortia, and government will be pursuing others I would expect, to ensure that they are maximised. There are programs, for example, to provide employment opportunities for Aboriginal people across the Northern Territory. There are enormous amounts of earthworks to be undertaken. There is 155 000 tonnes of steel to be handled before it gets to the rail construction site and eventually laid. Do you not think that the transport of goods through Alice Springs as the current rail head will be instrumental in providing activity and opportunities for people. Rather than just being bland about pulling out little issues - what about employment opportunities in Alice Springs - just look at the scope of works that will have to be done. Are you not practical enough in your approach to this project to be able to assess just what all this means? 155 000 tonnes of steel rail. 15 km of concrete culvert pipe. 2.2 cubic metres of ballast. 240 000 cubic metres of pre-stressed concrete. 15 cubic metres of earthworks. Do you know what 4744