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
DEBATES Wednesday 17 October 2007 4879 of mines opening in Batchelor and increased uranium exports through the wharf - mean the port and the rail facilities will get bigger and bigger as time goes on. I left the tour of the Darwin Port very optimistic about what is happening. They have had some issues with repairs and maintenance to some of the rods that hold the wall snapping. There are still some problems but they have to be sorted out by the original contractor. There are other things happening, with biofuel tanks now situated in that area. The port is something we can all be proud of. Regardless of the history and of what people say your government or another government does, it is infrastructure that, as time goes on, will be helping the economy of the Northern Territory. Without it we would probably still only have the Port of Darwin which, although it is very nice to have fish and chips down there, the days of loading cement and lots of moo cows are well past ... Mr Kiely: You miss the cracker boat, do you? Mr WOOD: Oh, absolutely! The port was a farsighted project of the previous government. I have been critical of the design of the port because I thought that a land-backed wharf would affect the tides in the harbour. However, I have been told that is not the case. We have a wharf that is growing in use by industry. Hopefully, we can get more imports through the port because that is a relatively small part of the use of our port. Exports are our main use. As time goes on, we will find that both the port and the rail become more viable and this all bodes very well for the economy of the Northern Territory. My main reason for speaking on this tonight is to thank Robert Ritchie and his staff for showing us around the port. It was very informative. As much as the member for Goyder might expound the virtues of the present government - and he is entitled to do that - from the point of view of people wanting to read the history of the development of the Northern Territory, it is no good putting political blinkers on to the extent that you do not realise that there was another government before that. They did certain good things. You are taking over some of their infrastructure and you are supporting it because you are now developing that infrastructure to a further stage. To some extent, when we are talking about AustralAsia Trade Route, we do not need too much politics; we need to say this is good for the Territory and leave it at that. Ms MARTIN (Chief Minister): Madam Speaker, I thank all those who have contributed to this debate for their constructive words. I include the member for Nelson; thank you. I am disappointed that the member for Katherine did not speak seeing she seemed to interject so strongly on other members and complained about the work of her own party not being recognised. It would have been good to have the member for Katherine make a contribution rather than snipe from the sidelines. If the member for Katherine feels so strongly that no one recognised the CLPs contribution to the Territorys economy in the past, then on your feet, member for Katherine, and make that contribution. We heard from various ministers about the impact from their portfolio areas on building the trade route. From the minister for Planning and Infrastructure, we heard of the importance of the right infrastructure and what it means to be able to get the results we have so far regarding the trade route and where we need to go in the future. From the Minister for Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines we heard about the importance of the cattle industry and export of that trade route - some of the areas that we are developing. It certainly is exciting that Vietnam has become a potential export destination for our live cattle. There was some early work done by the previous government in Vietnam in relation to export of live cattle. It was not successful. On my last trip to Vietnam, there was some questioning about the Territorys ability to deliver live cattle and success of those live cattle ventures because of a previous CLP minister and the lack of success of that venture. Sometimes, we recognise the CLP in government and its successes in building the profile of the Territory in Asia, in developing the economy, but there are also some downsides. Sometimes, when you are working in Asia in what you think are new areas, you forget that some of the lack of success can come back and bite you. We can overcome this and we certainly will when it comes to live cattle trade in Vietnam. The minister for Mines talked about the importance of mines, the export of ore and the importance of the railway to some of those marginal operations where the resource was known. However, to get that resource to market, the railway has made the critical difference, and we heard about a marginal mine moving to viability because of the AustralAsia Trade Route. The enthusiasm always from the Minister for Business, Economic and Regional Development about the future is contagious and I thank him for that, but also the important role of the Land Development Corporation and the Darwin Business Park. It seemed lonely for a long time. We had Toll in there but, very quickly, the confidence the first investment bought has seen a significant expansion of businesses we wanted at the business park to do with export operations and
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