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 4880 freight forwarding. That is happening. Really, in the time since the business park was established, that has been relatively quick. I thank the member for Goyder for his contribution. We do not mind a little indulgence about the personal involvement of the member for Goyder in building the railway. It was a fascinating story, and we thank him for that. This is an important statement for the Territory. There has been a lot of money invested in the trade route: the $1.3bn from the railway; the $200m in the port; and the other associated developments including the $24m for the bulk loader. They are all significant investments. At the time, there was almost a leap of faith from the previous government in the port - and it has been realised, but strategic investment must be made. The Darwin Business Park, the port infrastructure, the railway, the other associated developments, are all decisions made by government with a plan for the future. Yes, this government built on the work done by the previous government. I will go to some of the myths perpetrated by the Opposition Leader in her contribution to this debate. She started in a gentle mode - which is unusual for the Opposition Leader - saying she definitely supported the statement, and that the things we are doing to build the trade route deserve not to be fought over, but deserve bipartisan support. I wondered where her speech was going. She complimented government on the work we are doing in Asia, and urged us to continue the work we are doing, and that certainly was welcome. Then we came to some of the myths that are perpetrated by the opposition regarding our economic development and what should be an alternative. I would like to first go to the small lecture that the Opposition Leader gave me about the work of a previous Chief Minister, Shane Stone, the former member for Port Darwin, and the former Premier of Western Australia, Richard Court. She asked why are we are competing with Western Australia over the Ichthys field, and why I do not do what Richard Court and Shane Stone did and go to China and really get out there selling products to the world. You have to be careful with those kinds of statements because, while the previous Chief Minister Stone did that, no results were ever produced for the Territory. It is all very well to go whisking off with the Western Australian Premier, to sell whose gas to create the relationships? You had a Territory Chief Minister, hand-in-hand with the Western Australian Premier. Who got all the deals? Not us! Certainly, the Western Australians did well. To be fair, the Western Australians had an established gas industry and they had infrastructure. If you look at Karratha and Dampier, yes, they had infrastructure. Yet, the Opposition Leader said this is the way we should be dealing with it. If this is the way we were dealing with it, we would never have Darwin LNG. To say that I should be following a previous Chief Ministers example and courting Western Australia is simply wrong. It is a myth. I do not know where the Opposition Leader gets her information, but to say that is a role model is rubbish. It does not serve the Territory, it did not serve the Territory at the time. Her comment about it all being very well to go to Japan and talk to the Chair and President of INPEX, but I think her words were too little, too late about the Ichthys field. I am not going to go into detail because I have previously been into detail here, but we have done quite a considerable amount of work on this, not just one trip to Japan. We have never said that the option of bringing the Ichthys resource from the Browse Basin to Darwin is plan one. We are saying it is the back-up. Quite clearly, INPEX, logically, wanted to bring that gas onshore to the closest possible point but, since they made that decision, there have been a lot of complexities in achieving it. There has been considerable environmental concern from people, not just on the north of Western Australia, but around Australia. There has been considerable concern expressed by the Aboriginal people in the area about the impact on a pristine coast. There has been complexity in what was the INPEX first plan for this resource. It was when those difficulties developed that there seemed to be an opportunity to say: If the project has slowed down and you have deadlines, then an opportunity is here for Darwin. Initially it was not there, but we looked at where those opportunities were, and have worked for quite some time now with INPEX. The Opposition Leader saying too little too late is rubbish. That is not the case. We looked at opportunities as they emerged. The difficulties for INPEX, of course, are the costs of building pipelines. The cost of building pipelines has increased quite extraordinarily. The capital investment has increased quite considerably over the last few years. In bringing any gas to Darwin, the issue of the cost of the pipeline, which is about 1000 km, is a very serious one. However, we are pleased that we have presented a case to INPEX when there did not seem to be any possibility before. There was no reason for us to approach INPEX, but we were happy to do so quite some time ago as these issues emerged. We presented to them an alternative case. They are taking that alternative case very seriously. To have the Chief Minister
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