Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003

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Parliamentary Record 13


Debates 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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DEBATES - Thursday 19 June 2003 saw through many great difficulties? Suddenly, they are not good enough to work together to develop the wharf precinct as they were when they developed and secured the railway. I believe that is an insult to the ability of our senior public servants. We certainly put our faith in them. Our support is firmly behind them and we believe they will deliver. How do you fast-track bringing gas onshore from the Bonaparte Gulf? The former government knew the gas reserves were there for many years. Why didnt they fast-track it when they were in office? Given the announcements of the past few weeks, it is more a case of the Opposition Leader having missed the boat rather than any fast-tracking. The Opposition Leader said he wants more affordable child care - straight out of the Access Economics document. It is a Paul Henderson promise from opposition days. We have already delivered on that promise, whilst the former government and the Leader of the Opposition failed to act when he was Chief Minister and they had the chance. The member for Katherine stated the Territory would be years waiting for gas to generate some activity. Even though he made his budget response just prior to the latest announcements, you wonder: has he not bothered to notice what is already happening at Wickham Point? Where has he been while the Martin government has funded road construction there? He stated that, given his scenario of the delayed start to gas, the Martin government should: ... put forward some bridging projects that would keep the construction and other industries busy, and be able to bridge the gap between the low level of activity today and the high level of activity when the gas projects start. Madam Speaker, you probably recall very well our first sittings on achieving government when we were challenged about our counter-cyclical capital works program. I do not know where the member for Katherine was at that time - still very distressed at sitting on the other side of the Chamber for the first time in his parliamentary career - because he has no recollection of this. What he has called for in his response to the budget is precisely what this government has been doing. That is why infrastructure spending in 2002-03 was at a record level of $439m, because the owners of contract companies were sitting out there at Casuarina and downtown having cafe latte because they did not have any work in those last years of the CLP government. That is why we put $439m in record spending into capital works last year. Kon could not go down the street; they were everywhere ... Mr Dunham: I havent seen him recently; he could have stopped going down again. Mr STIRLING: He does not see them. He goes down to the Galleria for a coffee and he never sees any of his old mates now. Do you know why? They are too busy on the cement mixers, mate! They are too busy out there renovating houses and working their butts off, as they should be. This year, there is $434m in the total infrastructure spending program, just $5m lower than the record spent last year, and the second outright record in its own right. That is why ... Mr HENDERSON: Madam Speaker, I move that my colleague be granted an extension of time such that he may conclude his remarks -10 minutes. Motion agreed to. Mr STIRLING: I did not know I had gone so slowly on this, Madam Speaker. The first two Martin government budgets spent $100m more on infrastructure in the Territory than the last two CLP budgets. What is more, we are spreading more of that spending right around the Territory - in line with what the member for Drysdale was saying yesterday - to ensure it is not just the larger Darwin businesses that get the dollars but lots of firms, big and small, right across the Territory, get a slice of the action. Katherine, with its new $2m railway station, is part of that expenditure, ready to service the passengers from the Ghan service from early next year. So much for the member for Katherines claim that they are not getting anything, and there are no new projects in Katherine. The member for Katherine also accused this government of taking $13m in Commonwealth funds for national highways in the Territory. As he would well know - because we have used exactly the same treatment in the budget papers as he did - of the total grant received, around half is used for capital upgrades to highways and, therefore, included in the capital works program. The remaining portion is treated as repairs and maintenance expenditure for those same highways. Nevertheless, I take his point, and we will make it absolutely explicit in next years budget. He clearly expects, though, that reporting should be of a very much higher standard than the one he was prepared to set for himself. The member for Goyder made a curiously contradictory response to the budget. He extolled the virtues of the people of his electorate. In fact, he said, and I quote: 4380