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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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 267 There are two other issues which are important. One is that in the Northern Territory we still have the danger of the haves and have nots. This area I live in has a new prison being built. Whether you like it not, it is creating a large number of jobs. There are 350 to 400 people working on the prison; it will go up to 650 people. The INPEX village will have about 650 people working on its construction. A new shopping centre is proposed at Coolalinga that will employ a large number of people. We also have the abattoirs which will employ a large number of people. Queensland Country Life last week talked about trying to increase the numbers of Indigenous employees in the abattoir, for males and females. If we, as a government, do not try to promote ways of getting those people from remote areas jobs as part of the boom in this area, then we will continue to have the haves and have nots. We can fly people in from interstate to work here, why can we not fly Indigenous people who have the skills to this region and set up facilities for them? For instance, could we build an Aboriginal hostel at the abattoir where people know they will have a good bed, a good feed and a good job, and then go back to their communities after a couple of weeks work? I am worried that the Top End will have great growth, yet not every other part of the Territory will benefit from that growth. It concerns me where you have high unemployment in Indigenous communities, that they will not be part of this growth. Skills might be lacking, but why are we not developing the skills? The abattoir is one of the classic examples where we should be getting more Indigenous people working. They have natural skills in that area. I have watched them bone a bullock out in the bush. They have some idea how to do it. It might not be perfect for putting into plastic bags, but the skills they have naturally could be enhanced by some training and encouraging people to come to the Top End, get some work for a couple of weeks, and fly people back home. If we talk about the benefits of this economic boom in the Northern Territory, then we have to ensure everyone has a chance to participate in the wealth that is created, otherwise we will continue with the haves and have nots. My second last point is the relationship between the Northern Territory and Timor-Leste. The Chief Minister has spoken about the relationship with Indonesia. By all means, it is the third or fourth biggest country in the world and the biggest Muslim country in the world, we need to have a good relationship with Indonesia, but Timor-Leste is the poorest country in the world. People may have seen the Four Corners documentary on gas. We might say it is great that all the gas comes to the Northern Territory and develops this industry, we can export it overseas; however, if we want Timor-Leste to be a stable, modern country, it must have a share in the gas resources in the Timor Sea. We cannot leave Timor-Leste out of the equation. Some people might say it gains some benefits through royalties, that is fine, but why is it not getting benefits through industrial production? Why are we not employing them and developing those industries in East Timor? When I visited Dili about three years ago with a parliamentary delegation, that was one of the hot topics. One thing that put a barrier between us and them was we were not willing to talk about gas production and the sharing of that production with East Timor. It is an area I hope the Chief Minister can comment on in his summing up. I appreciate he has put Indonesia high on his agenda, that is very appropriate. We are living in a cave if we believe Indonesia is not important to Australia. Australia may not be as greatly important to Indonesia, but it is very important to us. We are a small country population-wise, and Indonesia is a huge country. That relationship is good. Timor-Leste is the poorest country in the world with low employment and a very poor standard of living in many places. You do not have to go far out of Dili and you will see people well and truly on the poverty line earning a pittance to keep their family alive. However, there is a great resource in the Timor Sea which tends to be - people may know more than I, but you get the feeling it is a one-way share - the big industrialised countries get the biggest share and Timor-Leste gets the crumbs. I hope to hear if the minister has any comments on that. The government has mentioned industrial developments, especially around the Darwin region. It would be good to hear where that industrial development will be. I have seen the Darwin regional plans the CLP has put out. The Labor Party put out similar plans, and most of it centres on Gunn Point Peninsula. I do not have a problem with that, but I have not seen how you will fund that. It is an enormous amount of money. You will have to build new roads, connect power to the area, and set aside the right land with roads, water and sewerage, and you will have to build a port there. It would be good to see what the governments plans are in relation to increasing the industrial area for development in the Darwin region. If we get more people who want LNG plants, can someone tell me where they will go? Middle Arm Peninsula has pretty well run out of places to put them. If you are going to put them somewhere else, the government needs to say where they will go and how much they will cost. Nothing is going