Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007
Parliamentary Record 17
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4861 exports from Central Australia. This opportunity is rapidly being realised because of the commodity boom, access to the new railway and strategic investments by the Territory government. The first such venture, which commenced in May 2006, was bulk manganese exports to China from the Bootu Creek Mine near Tennant Creek. Some 650 000 tonnes per annum is now being exported from Bootu Creek. It was the Territory government that made this new trade opportunity possible through our $24m investment in new bulk handling facilities at East Arm port. Not only did that investment enable the Bootu Creek Mine to eventuate, sufficient capacity was allowed within the infrastructure to accommodate further mineral exports occurring. Territory Resources, who I mentioned earlier, will build on their initial shipment and export some 1.5 million tonnes of iron ore each year from Frances Creek to China. In July, I had the pleasure in announcing that Oxiana reached agreement with FreightLink, operators of the rail line, and Darwin Port Corporation to transport some 250 000 tonnes per annum of copper concentrate from their Prominent Hill operation in South Australia to Asia via Darwin. That announcement further underlined the growing value of the AustralAsia Trade Route. Quite simply, to redirect this significant shipment from South Australia via Darwin for export demonstrates the Territorys geographical advantages to Asia and the growing profile of the AustralAsia Trade Route. This will not be the last time this type of redirection of trade occurs. It is a sign of things to come; the beginning of a new era. We will continue to explore new opportunities and develop initiatives, including opening discussions with BHP Billiton about the possibility of initiating export trade from the huge Olympic Dam project by rail and via Darwin. We will host senior executives from BHP Billiton on an inaugural visit to Darwin before the end of the year to progress this opportunity. Just last week, officers from my department and the Darwin Port Corporation jointly delivered a presentation on the major economic developments in the Territory, including the trade route, to a global freight conference held in Adelaide. Those attending included a number of senior South Australian mining operators. As mentioned previously, one of the growth opportunities to the trade route is to utilise the backloading capacity of our road and rail networks to deliver mining consumables from Asia into the mining industry of Northern and Central Australia. I previously mentioned the shipping connections into Indonesia supporting Darwin becoming a regional supply and logistics base for the onshore and offshore mining industry. In addition to this, we have been working closely with Adgile Services to develop a state-of-the-art classified goods precinct at Hidden Valley, one that will support the local mining industry. It will also complement the development of trade from China, where we are sourcing many of the chemical reagents used in the mining industry. The facility represents an investment of approximately $13.5m over five years by Adgile Services. I am advised that the company has reviewed its development permit and, subject to the receipt of some financial securities from the company by the end of the month, we expect construction to begin later this year. I will touch on specific areas related to the development of new markets for Territory exports. In particular, I advise members of the significant work that my department is undertaking in Vietnam and Japan. Vietnam is one of the worlds fastest growing economies, providing opportunities for the Territory to grow its international trade base. As you know, I led a delegation there last month to explore more trade opportunities in Vietnam. I am pleased to report that, whilst this was my first official visit to Vietnam and there is a lot more work to do, there have been many good outcomes from that visit already. In terms of strengthening the political relationship, which cannot be underestimated, I had meetings with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Pham Gia Khiem; the Vice-Minister for Education and Training, Professor Tran Van Nhung; Vice-Minister for Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Mr Le Bach Hung; and Vice-Minister for Industry and Trade, Nguyen Thanh Bien. The purpose of these meetings was to further cement a good relationship between our jurisdictions and to promote, at the highest level within the Central Government of Vietnam, the Territorys geographical proximity to Asia, its existing long-standing relationships within the region and its emerging trade capabilities and opportunities, particularly in relation to live cattle, tourism, skilled migration, and raising the profile of the Charles Darwin University. I also met with Professor Le Huu Nghia, the President of the Ho Chi Minh National Political and Public Administration Academy that has, as one of its key roles, the training and upskilling of Vietnams civil servants. Importantly, the meeting allowed us to raise awareness of the Territory and directly demonstrate the benefits and capabilities of Charles Darwin University to the Academys highest ranking official. I look forward to hearing more good things from Charles Darwin University in this area.