Territory Stories

Questions Day 6 - Thursday 15 May 2014



Questions Day 6 - Thursday 15 May 2014

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Parliamentary Record 12


Questions for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




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QUESTIONS Thursday 15 May 2014 739 green tape. We are getting on with the job of promoting economic activity in the Northern Territory. I am thrilled that TFS is taking the step and has the confidence to invest in the Northern Territory. I would be triply thrilled if it was being backed by a Middle Eastern investor, because that sovereign wealth fund is one of the largest funds in the world. It has investments all over the globe. The fact it is eyeing the Northern Territory is a very big tick in the box of the Giles government. It is something we are particularly proud of, that we are getting out there, not just looking inward, but outward, trying to drum up private investment and grow the Northern Territory economy. Tiwi Islands Access Mr BARRETT to MINISTER for TRANSPORT Can you please update the House on what you are doing to ensure safer access to the Tiwi Islands? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Blain for his question; it is a very good question. Following on from what the Treasurer just said, the Giles government is open for business. This project, creating access to ferries and other vehicles on the Tiwi Islands, has been led by the Chief Minister as the minister for Regional Development, and what a great initiative it is. The Northern Territory government has approved a grant to Tiwi Enterprises to investigate and design new pontoons at Paru and Wurrumiyanga, as well as a tourist precinct. This transport access will provide leverage for the governments commitment to social and economic development on the Tiwi Islands, and that means jobs there. The grant will see the investigation, design and cost estimates of both pontoons and a design for a tourism precinct to consider the boardwalks, lighting, signage, shade and other welcome aspects to the community to support tourism and boost development opportunities on the Tiwi Islands. Since Sealink NT began its service to the Tiwi Islands last September, an initiative the Giles government and SeaLink NT entered into, it has been extremely well received, with more than 5470 people using the service up to the end of 2013. My information is that number is growing as people become confident. It has made a huge difference to people working on the Tiwi Islands, and for island people being able to get to Darwin for medical services at a reasonable rate. There is no fixed infrastructure in Wurrumiyanga to allow passengers to embark or disembark safely from the ferry. This initiative will start to frame future opportunities that could provide a huge boost to the community, and support the governments commitment to the economic and social development of the Tiwi Islands. This is something the government is very proud of. We have been working with people to develop regional, rural and remote Australia. It is important to those communities that the government does these sorts of things. As you can see by the fantastic budget presented by this side of the House and the Treasurer, there are initiatives in the bush. Record amounts of money are being spent there, and that is on top of a $5.5bn projected debt the opposition and the member for Karama were the architects of, which is why we find ourselves we have done this all within the confines of a massive debt around our neck. Currently on the Tiwi Islands, passengers transfer to the shore by a barge operated by the Tiwi Island Regional Council. This is unsustainable in the long term, and is unavailable on Sundays, which limits travel options for workers returning to the islands after a weekend on the mainland. I am pleased to say we can assist with the design of this important piece of infrastructure with the potential to make a huge difference to the residents on the Tiwi Islands. The funding is being provided by this budget. Thanks. Water Licence Call for Inquiry Ms WALKER to CHIEF MINISTER In March 2013 the government awarded a water licence for 5800 ML to former CLP candidate, Tina MacFarlane. During the application process, recharge rates for the aquifer were remodelled. The sustainable yield was increased by 16 500 ML, and concerns raised by scientists about the adverse impacts of river flows were ignored. An e-mail subsequently tabled in this parliament proved that the Minister for Land Resource Management was directly involved in the decision to award the licence. Three days ago new licences for extraction of 46 509 ML from the Oolloo Dolostone Aquifer were approved, including a total of 8500 ML for Blackbull Station, a company partly owned by Foundation 51 director, magistrate, Peter Maley. Will you now call an inquiry into all water licences awarded by your government since September 2012? ANSWER No, we will not. We will continue have a clear and transparent process of good governance in the Northern Territory. We will back the bureaucracy.