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 4875 developments in the resource sector, will continue to drive strong economic growth and deliver wider benefits to all Territorians. I strongly support the Chief Ministers statement regarding development of the AustralAsia Trade Route. My department will continue to give high priority to activities promoting further development of the Darwin Business Park, and establish Darwin as a regional mining supply and service hub. In the past, whenever I have gone down south in my previous portfolio to promote mining or even trade, I have always carried with me the map that shows where Darwin is with regards to Australia and South-East Asia. I always enjoy seeing the expressions on the faces of some of these people who think that Darwin is in the middle of nowhere when they discover we are closer to Singapore and Jakarta than we are to Sydney or Perth. Also, they discover that within 36 hours to 48 hours, they can ship something from Adelaide to Darwin and within a few days, it can be shipped to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. As a matter of fact, it would take by boat 19 days to go from Sydney to Manila, while something from Adelaide can reach Manila within seven to nine days through Darwin, and that period is shorter for China, Singapore and Jakarta. The development of the rail from Adelaide to Darwin was a wise investment, despite the pessimistic forecast of some of the people who had a vested interest, and I refer to people who have interests in the ports in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney. Of course, to our benefit is the congestion witnessed currently by those ports and the one in Queensland. All of a sudden, Darwin becomes an attractive area. What is more important is, because it is a new harbour, not all areas are taken by freight forwarders; there is still land available. The Land Development Corporation works very closely with the freight forwarders to ensure that there is land developed for them to establish a base in Darwin to forward goods and services from down south through Darwin to where it is needed most, and where most of our clients sit. Madam Speaker, as I said, to the south of Darwin, if you put New Zealanders and Australians together, there are about 29 million clients; to our north, we are talking about 2.5 billion clients with Darwin in the centre of the universe. Mr WARREN (Goyder): Madam Speaker, I support the Chief Ministers important statement on developing our AustralAsian Trade Route, an important statement in which she proudly outlined how the Martin Labor government is strongly committed to supporting the sustainable economic development of the Northern Territory through this governments strong commitment to the vibrant promotion and development of our AustralAsia Trade Route. As a professional engineer who has lived in the Territory for almost 30 years, I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity in my working life to be directly involved in the construction of the Alice Springs to Darwin railway. As we all know, the Adelaide to Darwin railway linkage is a key conduit of this governments actions to maximise our domestic and international trade and business development. I spent almost four years on the $1.3bn exciting construction project that is the Alice Springs to Darwin railway. I saw it from start to finish. I was involved in other phases, but I will talk for a moment about that particular phase. I was able to see those first bits of clearing going on. We started in Katherine and on a number of fronts. We did not just start one end and end up at the other. We worked at different phases. That was pretty much part of the plan and the innovative approach that we took to the whole project. To see those first days when there was the excitement there amongst the crews and the engineers - everyone was there when we started moving south of Katherine on the first section we started. We really wanted to get things going and we had a few hiccups at the start. We were trying a lot of innovative stuff right from the start. Some of it worked; some of it did not. However, to be a part of it when we first started cleaning away and the construction crew started going, and everything was happening; there was such a buzz about the whole thing. I was there at the end when we were laying that last bit of rail to the end of the port. We pulled a few metres short because we needed to ensure that it was ready for the next day for the Chief Minister and other dignitaries to turn up. We could have pushed on and we could have finished it that day but we did not. Right from the start and at the end, the excitement was still there when that crew was sitting there watching the rail crew lay that last bit of track as it rolled up along the wharf. That was exciting and very sad in many respects as well. I started on the project back in 1983 when the Bob Hawke Labor government decided to look at the railway. I was actually working with the Northern Territory Mrs Miller interjecting Mr WARREN: Madam Speaker, I will continue and I will ignore that remark. In 1983, I started on
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