Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 I heard how difficult it is going to be in the short term for the tourism industry down here because of the SARS epidemic, the war in Iraq and the downturn in Asian tourism. What better way to offset some of that than attract locals to their own backyard? I know there has been some effort in the past to attract visitors from up north to come to Central Australia. It was done under the previous government. I remember seeing the brochures, although I am not sure how successful that was. There is one difference: we are now going to have a railway. I know the new Ghan is pretty expensive - you can see the air fares - because it is regarded as a tourist train and caters for that market. However, there needs to be an alternative to that: a passenger train. If there is a freight train travelling from Adelaide to Darwin every day, why couldnt a passenger service be attached? It has been done before in other places. Anyone who has lived in country parts of Australia has seen it. Maybe we will call it the backpackers special, but it could stop at Katherine, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs. The fares could either be set as family fares, discount fares or a packaged fare which could include a car and several nights accommodation in and around Alice Springs. I do not believe the Ghan is meant to cater for the ordinary traveller, and I feel a good passenger train linking Territory centres could be the way to go. A member inteijecting. M r WOOD: Yes, that is right. For anyone, it could be just another form of transport. There may be some teething problems, but it may maximise the use of the railway and, at the same time, promote local tourism. Perhaps the Minister for Tourism could look at the possibilities. I hope he does not think of it as a harebrained scheme; you need to think laterally. As I said before, the beauty of Central Australia will always attract people. There are so many attractions: the landscape, the Aboriginal arts and culture, the town and its people, and the climate. I am glad parliament has come to the Centre. I have learnt a lot in the few days I have been here. No matter what issues we argue, I feel it is important as a member of the Territory parliament - not just as the member for Nelson - to come and hear what people are saying. Whether I agree or disagree is irrelevant. I have enjoyed the process that we have had, and I thank people for letting me know their viewpoints. I am going out today to see a certain person who wants to develop some land. I am not making any promises that I agree with him or not, but he is going ... A member inteijecting. Mr WOOD: Yes, I have. In fact, I invited some people to the opening who are not quite related to me. They are related to my wife and, actually, to Terry McCarthy. So, yes, I have talked to some of the local indigenous people. But, by coming here today, it shows that we as parliamentarians are supportive of the whole Territory. I hope we will be back in the not-too-distant future. I hope this is not just a one-off. You never know, we might be able to travel by train and see a side of the Territory we have not seen before. Mr ELFERINK (Macdonnell): Madam Speaker, today I comment on the Chief Ministers statement in relation to what is happening in Alice Springs. It is now 11 am on the third day of sittings. This statement was made on the morning of the first day of sittings. It is the only statement the government has offered the people of Alice Springs. It has been annoying in this sense: there is much to be discussed about issues in Alice Springs which has been dealt with in the glibbest way - ministerial reports where ministerial statements would have been far more appropriate. Nevertheless, I finally have a chance to get to my feet. There are certainly things that I wish to comment upon. Naturally, the Chief Minister touches on the most important issue in this town after she mentions arts; which is crime. That is not belittling the arts, but it is the purpose and fundamental role of government, no matter what form of government, to provide, ultimately or first-off, a safe environment for the community. Before you can enjoy arts, health or education, if the communitys environment is not particularly safe, then the rest of it does not mean much. Yet we find it buried on page 10 of the statement. The issue of crime in this community, as much as the government wants to play it down, is a very real issue. The government has been careful to produce any number of statistics in relation to crime. I will visit those statistics briefly. The Attorney-General placed on the Table two graphs - and one more was introduced by the Chief Minister - in relation to crime in this community, and they are saying: Oh, crime went down between the last year of the CLP and the first year of the ALP. What I clearly demonstrated yesterday during ministerial reports is the old Disraeili lies, damn lies and statistics, because I can lay on the Table graphs o f my own. These graphs demonstrate rises. Recorded assaults in Alice Springs, September quarter, 3946
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