Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 The Martin governments $3.6m investment of the interactive distance e-leaming project throughout the Territory is also to be applauded, and will be a huge boost to the people in Tennant Creek. This initiative will support students and training providers, and upgrade the Centres information communications technology - 1 am referring to the Tennant Creek Training Centre there - and it will bring the region up to standard. I have always believed that one of our key priorities is jobs, because it is the dignity of work that enables people to break the cycle of substance abuse that condemns so many people in Central Australia. When I was first elected, I made a commitment to the people of the Barkly that, where possible, I would pursue sustainable economic outcomes to benefit everyone, both indigenous and non-indigenous. I believe that it is the delivery of sustainable economic development that this government will be judged on. Of course, we need to look at building opportunities in the traditional mining, pastoral and tourism industries, but we also look to the clever solutions in the smaller niche areas that use the knowledge based in the Barkly. This could improve projects like ecotourism ventures in the Nicholson and the Davenport Ranges, four-wheel drive tourism, as well as development of the Longreach Waterhole, which is just west of Elliott, and of course, the proposed Tennant Creek to Lajamanu Road. This road is still very much subject to further discussions with the traditional owners, but should it come to fruition then, obviously, it will provide some real opportunities for both the indigenous and the non-indigenous people and, o f course, the private sector. The difference between the government and the opposition is that, rather than just whingeing about the problems as members opposite tend to do, we in government look for solutions. In conclusion, I wish the people of Central Australia well. Dr BURNS (Tourism): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, today I outline issues of importance within my portfolios that have a significance for the Central Australian region. I will highlight this afternoon the contribution to the tourism sector, heritage values, the pastoral and horticultural sectors, and the economic and social wellbeing of the region. As has been pointed out a number o f times tonight, the tourism sector is probably the most significant contributor to the Central Australian economy. However, as we are all too well aware, these sittings are occurring at a time when international events are casting a cloud over the tourism sector. Major world events such as the threat of war, outbreaks of disease - particularly SARS - or civil unrest and major acts of terrorism, have an instantaneous effect on consumers travel patterns. They tend to defer immediate travel plans and cancel them, which is particularly true of international travel. As we are all aware, the Northern Territory, and Central Australia in particular, is very reliant on international tourists. About 50% of our tourist numbers come from overseas whereas, in the rest of Australia, it is more like 25%. So the impact of these international events is greater in the Territory than elsewhere in Australia. Consequently, the Northern Territory has experienced about an 18% reduction in international holiday travel since 2001, comparing the two years, September to September. That is a big blow. It highlights the Territorys vulnerability and also the need for the Northern Territory to be in a position to benefit when the market begins to recover. After all the things that have happened, since 11 September and the crash of Ansett, people in the tourism industry are asking, quite understandably, what possibly could happen next. But we do have the hope that the market will begin to recover, and we are not going along with the hype about collapsing market. Therefore, the international marketing budget has been increased by this government by Sim over the next two years to counter the effects of the downturn. We have also added flexibility into that spend, given international events and the fact that we need to be flexible in responding. The total budget for international marketing is currently $5.2m. What we need to do, strategically, is position ourselves to be able to take advantage once the position changes. There has been a lot of talk about withdrawing from the market, and reallocating, holus-bolus, all the funds for international marketing back into domestic marketing. That is not something we will be doing, particularly given our reliance on the international tourism market. We need to be poised to act, and we are. We intend targeting the North American, New Zealand and Japanese markets with greater vigour as soon as possible after the current conflict and other issues are resolved. These places have been identified by the Australian Tourist Commission as the most likely countries to resume normal travel patterns. Mr Reed: What about Europe? Dr BURNS: Well, this is the advice here. I guess these are the shorter haul ends of the market - or comparatively shorter hauls. Member for Katherine, these are the markets that have been identified by the Australian Tourist Commission. 3975
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