Territory Stories

Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 17 February 2004



Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 17 February 2004

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Parliamentary Record 17


Question for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Questions for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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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QUESTIONS - Tuesday 17 February 2004 achieve construction within the budget. The scope of the works as a result of those discussions was not reduced greatly. However, the Commonwealth then decided it was going to contribute additional funding to enable the contract to proceed. I am advised that a contract has recently been awarded to a local builder. Construction will commence on 1 March. I have already tried to deal with the issues about the Australian Standards. I am prepared to look at it. If the member wants a further briefing from the department, I am more than happy to arrange that. Defence Support Spending Ms LAWRIE to MINISTER for DEFENCE SUPPORT Could you please update the House on the governments many initiatives to assist Territory business to benefit from Defence Support spending? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Karama, for her question. As we all know, the Department of Defence Army, Air Force, Navy expenditure in the Northern Territory is a huge part of our economy and also a significant part of our population. As minister, and government, we do work intensively, not only with the Defence Department, but also with the individual arms of Army, Navy and Air Force, the prime contractors, bodies such as AIDN Northern Territory, and Northern Territory businesses to ensure that Territory business wherever possible can get maximum benefit from Defence presence and operation and capital expenditure in the Northern Territory. Last year, in recognition of this importance, the Defence Industry Support Division was established with the creation of a position of Deputy Secretary with extra resourcing to give it real weight in the department. There is a lot happening in this area. It is a pity that, from the new spokesman opposite, the opposition is behind the times in terms of what is actually happening in this very important area. In the Northern Territory News today - I do not have the advertisement with me - my department is running training seminars in Darwin to work directly with potential business operators who are looking to gain work on Defence contracts. They will advise them on how to best bid and to partner for defence work that is coming through in Darwin. Recently, in Katherine - the member for Katherine will be aware of this - my department again facilitated a briefing session. Eighty private sector people attended that briefing session regarding the Bradshaw Field Training Area project, the capital expenditure that is going to take place this year. It was a briefing for business people in Katherine that was welcomed. It was an initiative that I made in Katherine last year, also offering to support the establishment of an AIDN Katherine branch and that was welcomed by local people. We are doing much to ensure that our private sector businesses understand the opportunities that are there now and emerging in regards to Defence expenditure in the Northern Territory. There are some terrific success stories; for example, General Dynamics in the Territory are already doing great business with the maintenance of 1st Brigades ASLAVs. I met with senior executives from that company recently and, depending on the Armys decision in terms of their new field tank purchase, if the Army goes with the Abrahams tanks, General Dynamics are going to be very well positioned in the Northern Territory for a significant increase, not only for their own business, but outsourced business to local firms. We are working with them to ensure that we can meet their needs if that decision falls the way that they hope it will. Members will also recall the work the government has done with Australian Aerospace in terms of the Tiger Helicopter Squadron; DMS in regard to the patrol boats that are going to be based here; working with those primes to ensure that they have local industry plans in place, so that local businesses in the Northern Territory can have avenues to partner with those primes. Australian Aerospace and DMS are absolutely committed, and are working very closely with my department and Territory business to ensure that as much of that support work and through life support, 20 years through life support for the helicopters and patrol boats, can be done in the Northern Territory. Territory businesses which are working with my department and with these companies are very appreciative of the support that we are providing. There has been a lot of discussion about whether there is going to be a US defence base in the Northern Territory or exercises. We are working with the Department of Defence. I wrote to the Defence Minister again last week with the latest rounds of conjecture, seeking a briefing from the Commonwealth on exactly what is being discussed and proposed. We all know the rumours. We are chasing additional defence exercises in the Northern Territory. Last year, the Chief Minister was in San Diego talking to the US Navy and actively pursuing an extension of the Sea Swap trials the US Navy had in Fremantle last year. A couple of months ago, my department, along with the private sector, attended a significant conference in Singapore seeking 899