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 265 There is a lot of talk about tourism and I suppose it will be the big, flash type approach to tourism, but there is a great opportunity for developing industries in remote areas. It will not happen though until the infrastructure has improved because people simply will not go out there. Sixty-five-year-old people with caravans are not going to travel to Kintore in a hurry because they will probably come back without a caravan. These things have to be worked through. They are not cheap; I know the minister was talking about all these roads he is looking at but the reality is called dollars. It does not matter whether you are in government or this mob were in government, you have to live in the real world and if you do not have the money you cannot do all the things you hope to do. That does not mean you cannot dream, and that is important. This is a bit of a funny statement because it is called the three-hub economy statement but cattle pops up on its own in here and the white paper pops up, so I was a little confused as to whether it was a four-hub or a five-hub economy. Cattle is in this document on its own and it is, and will continue to be, the main centre of agriculture in the Territory. I did note recently that goats and this is not something I just woke up about - are exported from the Northern Territory, especially from the rural area of Darwin to, I think, Brunei and other places that need those goats for their religious festivals. That has been happening for quite a long time. It is only a small market but it is a market that we sometimes forget about. In relation to mining and energy, I get mixed messages sometimes when the government talks about mines and energy because I remember the fuss over Angela Pamela, which was all right, people were concerned about uranium 20 km from Alice Springs. But the point was that the company wanted to explore. If the decision had to be made whether the mine could go ahead, we should have done the exploration first to find out if there is a source of uranium there worth exploring. When you consider that Queensland has now said it will allow the exploration in mining of uranium, from memory - I am not sure whether Mary Kathleen or Rum Jungle was the first uranium mine, but both of those mines were producing uranium over 60 years ago and now the Queensland government has come back and said it is willing to allow that exploration. New South Wales is now looking at the same thing, Western Australia has allowed mining of uranium, South Australia has had it for quite a while, the Northern Territory has one of the biggest uranium mines in the world, supplying 1% of the total electrical energy of the world and I think it is 10% of the total uranium sales of the world, so it is extremely important. I do not know whether the minister gave ERA a mention but sometimes ERA comes in for an awful lot of knocking. If you go there and see the amount of work they are doing environmentally with the salt brine plant that distils the water to a point where it is so clean they have to put it back into a natural wetland to absorb more salt so they can release it into the natural environment. They are doing an extremely large amount of work to be environmentally friendly and are also working with the Aboriginal community so they get the maximum benefits. The boarding school that has been built at Jabiru by Brustolin Builders is a result of royalties from ERA. There is a gentleman who writes for the NT News who talked about all the downsides of uranium, but you have to live in the world of reality. China is continually building nuclear power, India will continue to build nuclear power even if there are some issues at times with them, because they realise the only way they are going to get away from gas, coal and diesel production is through using nuclear power. Solar and wind, fine no problem, but major industrial countries that require major power seven days a week, 24 hours a day, need a form of power they can rely on whether it is overcast or the wind has stopped. That is why there will be continual growth, especially in those heavily industrialised countries of nuclear power and we have the product to export. Again, I am unsure whether the minister mentioned the importance of the new phosphate mines near Tennant Creek. If anyone was listening to the Country Hour recently it was discussing this issue and the potential for it to increase jobs in Tennant Creek by up to 500 jobs if they take the raw product and develop it into a fertiliser, or forms of chemicals that can be used in industry or agriculture. If they built a plant in Tennant Creek it would employ up to 500 people. They could also build it on-site; however, at the moment they are looking at the possibility of building it near Tennant Creek. That one mine could turn Tennant Creek around just because of the number of jobs that could come from value adding to the raw product to be dug out of that mine on the Barkly Highway. I probably cannot resist it; the Chief Minister has spoken about INPEX. I find it a little laughable in some ways because, through the election campaign, I copped a fair bit of flak about the site of the INPEX village. I have a photograph of a sign which says: Nelson voted independent and got a 2000plus workers camp. In this document the Chief Minister mentions the workers camp and puts a value on it - a $340m contract for the workers village. I am the one who

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