Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 17 October 2007

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Parliamentary Record 17


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




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 Wednesday 17 October 2007 4874 freight distribution centre. The total value of business park developments in the next 12 months is expected to exceed $36m. Members should note that the new business park developments are private sector driven. These reflect the high level of confidence among the Territory business community in the short- and long-term prospects for the AustralAsia Trade Route and the Territory economy. Over the years, the government has also put a great deal of work into developing Darwin as regional mining supply and logistics base. The decision to hold a second Indonesian Mining Procurement Forum is testament to the positive outcomes that were generated from the original forum. These forums should be viewed in conjunction with the ongoing program of government support to enable Territory industry representatives to attend events such as Mining Indonesia, which is scheduled to be held in Jakarta in a few weeks time. The ongoing support of the Indonesian Customs Pre-Inspection Service in Darwin for goods going to eastern Indonesian ports provides further evidence of the positive light in which Darwin is held by both the Indonesian government and major mining companies. The aim of all this activity is to secure the long-term future of Darwin as a supply and logistics base for mining activities in the region. When taken in conjunction with my departments work to have Darwin recognised globally as a maintenance and operation base for oil and gas activities in the region, the future looks bright. I fully support the Chief Ministers conviction that the development of the trade route will encourage new international trade flows and stimulate economic growth. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. My department regularly monitors the health of the Northern Territory economy. I do not need to tell you that the Territory is going through a period of strong economic growth. In 2005-06, the Territory was the star performer across Australia with GSP volume growth of 7.5%, and Access Economics estimates a fairly healthy GSP growth rate of about 6.1% in 2006-07. The major economic growth driver has been the Territorys mining sector. Chinas and Russias appetites for our mineral resources have seen significant private investment in new mines, mining expansions and mineral processing facilities. If they think that the resources boom will stop, I have news for you. In todays The Australian there is an article Bottomless Pit? Why the resource boom will continue. It is a two-page article about why the resource boom will continue because of Chinas continuous development and building boom which, of course, will have an effect on our resources. In one particular case, a private company in Western Australia had a 330% increase in its share price just by announcing that significant ore was found in one of their tenements. The AustralAsia Trade Route infrastructure has underpinned a significant portion of this new investment, particularly depending on bulk mineral exports. The value of merchandise exported from the Northern Territory has increased by 51%, from $2.7bn in 2005-06 to more than $4bn in 2006-07 as new resource-based investment entered the production phase. While the majority of this rise was due to the Darwin LNG plant reaching full production, bulk mineral export sales of manganese from Bootu Creek and, of course, iron ore from Frances Creek, have also made a significant contribution. Export volumes and values are expected to rise even further with the commencement of further iron ore shipments from Frances Creek to China. This increase in bulk mineral exports would not have happened without investment in rail and port infrastructure. This means, I believe, the international trade pudding is proving to be very appetising. The extension of the railway from Alice Springs to Darwin has also delivered economic benefits beyond those related to trade. I refer, of course, to one of Australias great train journeys, The Ghan. The Ghan now runs twice weekly between Adelaide and Darwin and brings a substantial number of big spending tourists to the Territory, more than 30 000 northbound passengers in 2006-07 alone. I well recall a previous CLP minister who announced, when they were planning for the train development, that nothing with legs would travel on the train. He told me the other day he was very happy to be proven wrong because now things with legs get on the train. He was not only referring to tourists, but now the Cattlemens Association are discussing the possibility of loading cattle from the Barkly region for shipment to Darwin and on to Indonesia and other ports. Obviously, the train has opened a new route from down south to the north. I am not referring to the north of Australia; I am referring to the north of our continent. The development of the AustralAsia Trade Route is an accomplishment in itself. However, what it delivers to the Territory in economic growth is even more important. Continued efforts are required to maximise the value of the governments investment in the trade route, including investment in the rail and port infrastructure and international trade relationships. I believe that the AustralAsia Trade Route, together with a range of other new and exciting