Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012
Parliamentary Record 1
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 253 4Runner: look out, this is the shape of things to come. This is what it is all about for us. The Leader of the Opposition did not get everything she wanted in this statement; however, there will be more statements. They will not be the ministerial propaganda puff pieces we saw delivered by the previous government. We will have statements outlining this governments priorities and what we are doing. They will not be totally aspiration-based or what we would like to do, but what we are going to do. The tourism industry will form part of a three-hub economy for this government and the Northern Territory. This Country Liberals government is committed to reinvigorating the tourism industry for the benefit of all Territorians. Major Events and all my portfolios have been strung together. I feel like I am the maitre d of the Northern Territory. I should have on my business card, Matt Conlan, maitre d and stand on the border shaking hands. It is the bums on seats portfolio. It is about getting people to the Northern Territory, shaking their hand and saying: Welcome, get out there and explore. It is incumbent on all of ministers, and everyone in this House, to ensure that happens. We bang on about who is jetting interstate left right and centre. Let us get out there and sell the place, and if it means you have to jump on an aeroplane and spend a couple of days in Sydney, so be it. I do not think there would be one single Territorian who would begrudge you that. You can fly business class and have a glass of champagne in the chairmans lounge if you want; as long as you are out there doing hard work for the Territory no one cares. Plans are being developed to place Tourism NT headquarters in Alice Springs instead of Darwin. There will obviously be a presence in Darwin. The government has heard the message from the community that it wants the regions and more remote areas of the Northern Territory to be respected and resourced. If there was ever an example of a Darwin-centric government the result of the previous election was it - the regions had been starved, under-resourced and disrespected for far too long. Central Australia and Alice Springs in particular have been hit hard by the decline in tourism. Moving Tourism NTs headquarters to Alice Springs will do much to invigorate the social and economic environment in Alice Springs. We need to place agencies and departments throughout the Northern Territory, where appropriate, to give the regions back some of the clout they so richly deserve. We believe it will energise tourism operators and give their confidence an enormous boost as well. It will also bring the industry closer to the government and allow the regions to once again prosper and give them that much-needed lift. This decision is not about taking from one and giving to the other. That point has to be made; it is not about putting Alice Springs in front of Darwin, or any of that nonsense. We still need a presence in Darwin, Katherine and Tennant Creek. It is about one product. It is not about a Darwin Harbour cruise versus a camel ride in Central Australia or a boat cruise up the Katherine River. It is not one is better than the other; it is all a Territory experience, and the product is the Northern Territory. That is this governments vision: the Northern Territory is on sale; we promote the Northern Territory as a destination. The key to our plan is reconstituting Tourism NT as a commission and appointing the Board of Commissioners to provide strategic direction. I have introduced a bill to that effect, which we will debate at length on Thursday. The board will comprise of individuals of the highest calibre. The Chair designate is Michael Bridge, CEO of Airnorth and Chair of the Regional Aviation Association of Australia, a position he has held for the last seven years. He is a long-term Territorian who has a deep understanding of local issues and is extremely capable of realising the Territorys economic and tourism potential. He is a great choice and will do the Territory proud and will certainly deliver. I say this because, during Michaels 23 years with the Airnorth group, he has overseen the growth of the company from a small charter company to what has now become Australias second oldest continuously operated airline, with revenues of $90m per annum, operating some of the worlds most technologically advanced jet aircraft into some of the worlds most remote destinations. He has done a wonderful job. It is a great success story for the Northern Territory and something Michael Bridge and all Territorians, can be very proud of. Michael is a great get for us to be heading up the Tourism Commission. Airnorth employs more than 200 Territorians and carries nearly double the entire Northern Territory population each year - no mean feat. The reason it is so important to have the right structure and the right people driving it is because Northern Territory Tourism relies on Tourism NT to set the marketing direction for the Territory. The volume of small tourism businesses combined with the Territorys small population base, remote locations, and other unique aspects means Tourism NT has traditionally played a stronger leadership role for industry than most other state and Territory counterparts. Mr Bridge will be working with me to identify the right candidates to discharge that responsibility
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