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 arrangement, negotiations continue, so we should see a full commitment. At the moment we expect to achieve a full commitment of the $480m directly to the project and the previous concerns that taxation might be payable on that amount are now not those that previously existed, although its yet to be signed off. Much hard work has been done in relation to the taxation measures and they seem to have been overcome. Although the official sign-off has not occurred, hopefully that isnt far away and that will maximise the public sector contribution to the project in terms of its overall useful application. Honourable members would appreciate the importance of those taxation arrangements and not see a decrease in the application of those funds because of a taxation impost. Again, that looks like being a positive outcome in terms of the project. I pay tribute to the railway group of the Northern Territory government. Its hard to explain how much effort people like Paul Tyrrell, Larry Bannister and others - and perhaps one shouldnt name people because you always run the risk of not naming others who have contributed so much - who have put in hours and days burning the midnight oil trying to get this project together, and having their doubtful moments. There were many doubts in the lead up to the final arrangements being put in place in terms of what the federal government commitment should be. The Chief Minister pursued that with the Prime Minister and got a positive outcome. It has taken a lot of time and toll on peoples private time, and kept them from their families and other things they would have been pursuing. Its been an enormous contribution on their behalf to this project. Territorians will never know how much they have contributed in terms of personal effort. I take this opportunity to commend all of the members of the Northern Territory railway group for the commitment that they have demonstrated to ensure that this project has got to the stage where in this House today we can talk about it positively. We can now see clearly the benefits that will flow to Territorians, not only in terms of the 2000 jobs in the construction phase, but the 200 long term jobs and the opportunities that will be generated from this line once it is operational. There will be growth in the transport industry and others and the provision of, perhaps, passenger transport, as has happened elsewhere in the world where major railway lines or similar infrastructure has been put in place. Other activity has been generated because of the presence of that infrastructure. I ask the Labor Party to get excited about this project. Its huge not only in national terms. Its huge in international terms. See the benefits that are going to flow from it. Dont be negative, dont sit there nodding no, like the Leader of the Opposition currently is. You cant deny that you were whingeing about the cost per capita when the announcement was first made. You cant deny that you created mischief in trying to generate doubt in the minds of Alice Springs people that they werent going to benefit from this. This is a massive project. I support the Chief Ministers statement as far as anyone possibly could. Ms MARTIN (Opposition Leader): Mr Speaker, I am pleased that the Deputy Chief Minister managed to fill his 20 minutes. But I think that the Deputy Chief Minister should consider that quantity is not always quality. The Deputy Chief Minister has certainly demonstrated that fact over the last 20 minutes. Its very interesting that, when we do have a wonderful project like the railway coming to fruition, the best this Country Liberal Party government, who have been in power for 25 years, can do is bag the opposition. I find it extraordinary. Here you have a major infrastructure project, a project for the future of the Territory with the potential to create jobs, skills development for Territorians, and prosperity for businesses, and all this mob can do is bag the opposition. What a pathetic, lack-of-imagination mob you are! Twenty-five years and going downhill faster than anyone can keep track of. As the Deputy Opposition Leader said, this project has had bipartisan support. Luckily, we had a previous railway minister who kept us fully across what was happening in the railway project and did this constantly, for which we were very grateful. Im certain that the former member for Blain would state quite clearly the support he has had from this side of the House about the railway project, and what great support he has had. The fact that we get to this stage and the best the Deputy Chief Minister can do is say, Come on, opposition - get excited, is a sad indictment of that man himself. We do know, every time it comes towards the last session of the year, what gets the member for Katherine excited... Mr Burke: Pardon? Say again. Mr SPEAKER: Order! M r BURKE: A point of order, Mr Speaker! Theres an inference there which I would like the member to explain or withdraw. 4746