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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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 258 There are many challenges for the fishing industry. We are and will be competing with other states but we can also work cooperatively with other states. Finally, the Ord is something I pushed very hard for. The reality is the cost of the Ord and the rough estimates for the Territory alone for our area would be in excess of $300m. This is something the Territory currently does not have the capacity to do. The other problem is that no negotiations can start with the Indigenous people in the area. Western Australia started these negotiations 10 years ago and with the WA governments Royalties for Regions scheme there is significant money to be provided in the area. The federal government also came to the party to provide money. I had successive discussions with Gary Gray, the minister who was responsible for the Ord. We had meetings with the Western Australian government. I put different proposals to the Western Australians on the way to develop the Ord because I know we have a card in our hands. The companies that want to develop the Ord, want the whole Ord not just one section now and something in the future. That is why I made it clear to the Chinese companies that visited me and proposed to open the Ord that we were happy to work with them as long as they put the infrastructure in place; these companies were actually keen to do so. The only thing they wanted to make sure of was that we were clear on the negotiation with the Indigenous traditional owners and cooperation with the federal government. The Territory has a bright future. I always said that the Territory has a bright future and can provide opportunities for all Territorians irrespective of whether they live in Casuarina, Palmerston, Katherine, Yuendumu, Nguiu or Bathurst. The mining, fishing, agricultural and horticultural industries are vital for the Territory and they are job generating industries. Let us grab this opportunity, let us not lose the opportunity, let us not play politics with it. I am happy to work wherever I can with my counterpart irrespective of whether he or she belongs to a different political party, especially if they are in power now. Governments come and go, but the reality is we do not want the opportunities for the Territory to go away; we want them to come here. Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE (Primary Industry and Fisheries): Madam Speaker, I support the Chief Ministers statement on the creation of a three-hub economy for the Northern Territory. I have listened to a number of the contributions, particularly those of the member for Casuarina and the Opposition Leader. I always like to give credit where credit is due and after listening to the two contributions by those members opposite, it is clearly the former minister for Primary Industries and Mines and Energy who has a far better understanding of life in the Territory when it comes to the economy and how primary industries, fisheries and mines and energy contribute. Instead of listening to the carping and whining of the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Casuarina had a far more reasoned debate and contribution to all of this. I appreciate his offer to assist in any way he can. I might even consider that, member for Casuarina, and how you might be able to assist, bearing in mind that it is the department that carries with it the corporate knowledge from government to government. Thank you, nonetheless. There is a general understanding when you are comparing Labor politics with the conservative side that in general terms Labor does not do primary industries very well; you can go right across the country and find examples of that. Notwithstanding the efforts of the former minister, you can see why there was a collective sigh of relief across the Northern Territory when the Country Liberals were elected on 25 August, because it became apparent that the Leader of the Opposition hates primary industries. The way she went on about the Ord clearly said to me she had no interest whatsoever, and still has no interest, in finding ways to grow the Territorys economy through the primary industry sector. I heard a rumour that the former minister and the current Leader of the Opposition were quite at odds over many things that went on in their government and the Ord was one of those. I can see now why they were at loggerheads over this. A minister who was probably trying to do the right thing, confronted by a mean-spirited Labor Party stalwart who had no interest in developing primary industries in the Northern Territory, let alone for the regional benefit it might bring to the western part of the Territory and Katherine. Now I come to understand clearly how and why that occurred. Having said that, the member for Casuarina said these things are hard. Yes they are, but that does not mean that you do not pursue them. We have a number of goals, some of them are aspirational goals, but nonetheless we have them. Where we see there will be economic benefits to the Territory we will pursue those goals, no matter how hard they are. That is what government is all about, confronting those challenges, building the Territory against the odds, despite the difficult terrain we might have to cross. The problem we had with the last 10 or 11 years of the Labor