Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 10 October 2006



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 10 October 2006

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Parliamentary Record 10


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 Tuesday 10 October 2006 3112 Desert Knowledge Australia is focused on building business partnerships, networks and job opportunities, and creating sustainable livelihoods in desert regions, with a strong focus on opportunities for indigenous Australians. The challenge that Desert Knowledge Australia is addressing is to capitalise on existing industries while looking to new opportunities as diverse as renewable energies and bush products to drive job growth and sustainable lifestyles. It is making an important contribution to the sustainable economic and social development of desert and arid region from its headquarters in Alice Springs. Networks that it has created span issues of importance to regional economic development of the Territory including mining services, sustainable building, bush products and tourism. It is also working on a solar demonstration facility. The partnerships that I have mentioned are providing essential inputs to help tackle the barriers and precursors, create communities of interest, enhance capacity, identify opportunities, and generate sustainable economic developments. As Minister for Regional Development and for Business and Economic Development, I thank the partners involved for their efforts. Without their interest and input, our achievements will be diminished. Mr Deputy Speaker, there is no Harry Potter-like wand or incantation available to convert the regional economic development opportunities into reality and to overcome the many remaining challenges at this stage of the Territorys development. We can only achieve the regional economic development outcomes and successes required through better knowledge, targeted strategies, concerted effort, coordinated partnerships, adequate resources and sheer determination to complete the actions as I have outlined today. Through these actions and further work, together we can ensure that all Territorians have the opportunity to participate in the regional economic success and enjoy a true sharing in Territory prosperity. Mr Deputy Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Ms CARNEY (Opposition Leader): Mr Deputy Speaker, I should say for the sake of the Hansard that Mrs Miller, the member for Katherine, holds this shadow portfolio, but owing to family reasons, she is not here to contribute to it. Until she received the distressing telephone call last night, I know that she was working on it, minister. I can assure you of the member for Katherines commitment to not only hard work but to this particular area because those of us from the regions have more than a passing interest. It is where we live, and therefore it is perhaps more important to us, the out-of-towners if you like, those not from Darwin, to see the progress, to the extent that government makes progress in this area, being made. Minister, there is no doubt that there are some encouraging initiatives in your statement and I congratulate you and your colleagues for them. Some of them, whether directly or indirectly, were built on some initiatives of the previous government. Of course, all governments take on board initiatives, regardless of who comes up with them, that are designed to improve the prospects of our fellow Territorians. To the extent that the government has embraced some old ideas as well, I congratulate the government for it. They are the good bits. The bad bits, for want of a better description, emerged from your statement. I do not propose to go into things at length or in great detail, however, I notice that on the first page of your statement, you said: The ongoing development of our regions is one of the great enduring challenges of government and one that must sit centre of mind as we continue to look to carve out a modern Northern Territory economy. There are various ways of demonstrating commitment, and I know you will be aware of them, but one of them is for ministers of government to spend more time in the regions. You would be aware that there is a complaint from people who live in the regions, regardless of their politics, that they just do not see enough of the ministers. I know you come down for what Labor calls Community Cabinet. I know you try to have meetings with people, but in order to achieve better outcomes for our fellow Territorians, Darwin ministers need to be ever receptive to the charge made by Territorians not from Darwin that they do not see enough of them. I am not talking political spin. I am talking proper consultation with people who are not on the A-list of government invitations - not just the A list people; the average Territorian who, in the normal course, of events has very little to do with government. It is a small jurisdiction. It will not surprise you to know that I, indeed along with so many others, have friends who work in the public service. The word that I have received from friends who work in this area is that they feel as though they are beating their heads up against a brick wall. They are seeing the huff and puff, but there is a feeling - it is a matter for you as to whether you take it on board, but I put this to you earnestly and sincerely - that government is not as receptive as it should be to regional issues. It is incumbent for me to point that out to you. One easy thing to point to, I suppose, is the fact that the Chief Minister said not so long ago in

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