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 261 This government also appreciates the importance to industry of the timeliness of regulatory approvals to enable greater certainty in planning. I am already working with my department to investigate and identify greater efficiencies in the approvals process. While I believe the current regime is robust, we should always strive for improvement where possible. This government aims to work closely with the mining industry to be open and transparent about how the industry is performing, and to ensure the community is well-informed with factual information about exploration and mining. To that end, we encourage mining companies, particularly those dealing with controversial issues, to make the effort to get out into the public space and provide the factual information, not emotional information, but straight down the line information about their project. This government is dedicated to the creation and support of the three-hub economy. It is determined to not only tell the world, but show the world the Territory is open for business. We will not let the Territory become dependent on the success of one industry. The creation of the three-hub economy means we are placing our eggs in different baskets. One of the three hubs is food exports. There is tremendous potential to expand both export and domestic markets for Territory products. The three factors which will contribute directly to this goal are growth in plant industries, growth in animal industries, and improved market access. One of our election commitments was to separate the departments of minerals and Energy from Primary Industry and Fisheries to facilitate better investment for each industry sector. This has already been achieved. Under this government there will be greater focus on research and development for key crops. As the NT mango production currently occurs over a limited period, there is a strategy to expand this window utilising new root stocks, new varieties, new geographic production regions, and evaluating production management practices to advance or delay fruit maturity. Ms ANDERSON: A point of order, Madam Speaker. Pursuant to Standing Order 77, I seek an extension of time for the minister. Motion agreed to. Mr WESTRA van HOLTHE: I thank my colleague, the member for Namatjira. Of the 5000 tonnes of mangoes exported annually from Australia, approximately 60% is Northern Territory fruit, which is exciting. The main markets currently are New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Japan and China. There is tremendous potential for the China market to expand, and Russia has also been identified as an emerging market for Territory mangoes. Improved biosecurity was a key element of this governments primary industries election platform. Current research to develop an alternative protocol for fruit fly has the potential to provide for direct export out of the port of Darwin without requiring post-harvest treatment for mangoes. Should this occur, there is the potential for significant cost savings for the industry as well as environmental benefits for minimal pesticide use. To meet the demands of expanding markets, our horticulture industry requires new land releases to be opened. As the relevant minister, I have already travelled to Kununurra, as has been pointed out by a number of people in this House today, to inspect, firsthand, the development potential of the Ord River Scheme and to speak to key regional stakeholders. Another of our election commitments was to establish a unit to advance the Territory component of the Ord River scheme. While there has been no formal decision on how the NT land in the Knox Plain and Keep River areas will be developed, my department is working with its counterparts in Western Australia and with traditional owners to ensure early engagement and respectful consultation occurs before addressing native title, environmental clearances and biosecurity issues. Banana production in the Top End has huge potential with Woolworths and Coles now requiring suppliers to source 30% of their production outside of North Queensland. My department is already working to ensure local growers can take advantage of this opportunity. Northern Territory primary industry, which includes the farming of cattle, other livestock, horticulture and mixed farming, forms an integral part of this governments plan for a thriving three-hub Northern Territory economy that will create jobs and opportunities for Territory families. In particular, our beef cattle industry plays a key role in providing jobs, training and economic benefits to some of our most regional and remote areas. Our cattle industry is worth more than $200m a year to the Northern Territory. It is important to point out, in light of some of the things that have been said here, that the live cattle export industry was commenced under the former CLP government and the work of blokes like Mick Palmer should not go unmentioned in the engagement they provided within Indonesia and