Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012



Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012

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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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Hansard Office

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 256 Resources that if they cannot proceed with Meijin, they find someone else to assist the development of their mines. I agree with the member for Greatorex, I would not complain about the minister travelling. As a minister I travelled many times in the past four years. I went to China 12 times. I propose to the minister that he build on the good work we did with the China development extraction strategy. There is work to be done there. People in the department have the knowledge and the contacts. I said before this is not about politics, it is about the Territory. I would be very happy to assist and talk to the minister, or his department, or with the minister and the department, to ask companies to invest in the Northern Territory. At the same time, I suggest that the minister does not travel when problems arise in the Territory. When Pacific Aluminium made its surprise announcement to review its operation in Gove, the minister went to New Zealand to attend a conference. I would have travelled to Canberra to talk to Martin Ferguson and others to find ways to assist Pacific Aluminium with a pipeline or to review the operations in Gove. I notice with interest the Chief Ministers comments with regard to the white paper recently released by the Australian government. It is a great paper. It describes things the Territory has done for a long time. Some of these were done by our predecessors, the CLP - expansion to Asia, mainly to Indonesia, at the time. However, many were in our own time. We proposed Darwin as the gateway to Asia, we helped Darwin to be the gateway to Asia and the Territory to be the forefront of Australia to Asia. We developed an Asian investment attraction strategy, we travelled to Japan, Korea and China. I encourage the minister to do exactly the same. Go to Japan, Korea and China! That is where the emerging companies are and they need the commodities the Territory has in vast quantities and they have the money to invest in the Territory. We worked together with the Chinese Embassy. We briefed the Chinese Ambassador on many occasions, and they assisted us to meet people in China we would not have met otherwise. With them we developed a booklet which describes Darwin and properties to all potential investors to the Territory, and some of the taxation and industrial relations arrangements. It was written in Chinese. I urge the minister to build on the work done by the previous government and the department to attract other investment from Asia. With regard to education, we have developed strong links with Asia not only in tertiary institutions, but also in secondary institutions. I believe Taminmin College and Dripstone Middle School have strong relationships with Kibito High School in Japan, while CDU has links with Haikou, the Beijing Institute and Hebei Institute in China. We have seen the development of the Confucius Institute following the visit to Darwin by the Vice President of China Mr Xi Jinping and, of course, the Chinese government this year sent a university professor from Fujian to teach Mandarin at CDU. In box 6.7 in chapter 6.3, Adaptability, in the white paper there is reference to creating opportunities for Indigenous Australians. Only once in the Chief Ministers statement is there a reference to Indigenous Australia and that is only in relation to Ord River. There is no reference to Indigenous Australian involvement in the cattle industry, the mining industry, horticulture, agriculture or tourism. I have said many times before in this parliament that Indigenous Territorians have many opportunities for employment where they live, where mining, cattle or agriculture are the industries which thrive in their region. I strongly encouraged, and in some cases legislated for, companies that wanted to develop mines in the Territory to put in place training and employment programs for Indigenous Territorians. I was very pleased to see McArthur River Mine has employed about 50 Indigenous young men in Borroloola, who do not do the work no-one else wants to do, they drive trucks in the mine. The same thing applies on Groote Eylandt and in Gove. We also legislated for companies to put in place a community benefit trust account, the same way they have in Borroloola where the companies, apart from paying the royalties to the government, put in money. So when the mine finishes there will not only be a big hole in the ground left behind, but infrastructure, training opportunities or things the community needs. I found it surprising, going to Borroloola, to find that a community of 30 000 people does not have their own bakery or butcher shop. The bread and meat comes from Darwin frozen. These are the opportunities that mining companies can provide to the area, to provide the opportunities for the finance for Indigenous people in those areas to acquire their own businesses or start new businesses. I remember very well when Cameco in Canada started mining in some of the Indigenous areas; they helped Indigenous people establish their own transport companies to service Cameco in the area. That company was so successful that in 10 years time, it expanded to provide services throughout Canada.