Debates Day 4 - Tuesday 30 October 2012
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
DEBATES Tuesday 30 October 2012 238 have direct benefits for the tourism industry, overseas students and local businesses. The number of international students can only be expected to grow. Food exports to Asia present an exciting opportunity to capitalise on the vast natural resources available in the Territory. We are at the height of the mango season an industry that is worth $60m a year. The Northern Territory is now the biggest mango producer in Australia. We are harvesting the best fruit and getting it to market first. Fishing and agriculture are highly visible examples of the potential for growth but there are also enormous opportunities within the Ord River Irrigation Scheme in Western Australia. Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries, Willem Westra van Holthe, has already travelled to Kununurra to continue building partnerships with the federal and Western Australian governments to tap into potential areas for development. Talks have taken place with the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation and local traditional owners to investigate the potential development of Northern Territory land into the scheme. The economic opportunities the scheme presents are great and will be at the forefront of any discussions on how the Northern Territory can benefit from future development. But more than just the production of food, it is getting those products to market. My government has already identified the need for better transport and logistics, whether it is air services to regional centres for freight and for passengers or by linking in long-haul carriage by road and rail to port and beyond. Revitalising our tourism industry is another key component of our three-hub economy. The Australian dollar affects visitor arrivals to Australia and the Territory in two ways. First, it makes Australia and the Territory more expensive holiday destinations, especially for visitors from key source markets such as the UK and the Eurozone. Second, it continues to encourage Australians and Territorians to holiday overseas. Declining passenger numbers to the Territory led to a rationalisation of airline seating capacity in 2011-12 which, combined with the loss of Tiger Airlines service to Alice Springs, made it more expensive and difficult to travel to the Territory. The Department of Business has received feedback from many long-term local tourism operators who have great difficulty in finding suitable and affordable accommodation for their clients in Darwin. Many of the current hotels and motels are leased and occupied by workers involved in major projects and the detention centre. This situation is an example of how increased demand for one sector of the economy impacts adversely on other sectors ability to meet the requirements and expectations of this market. The excessive demand for worker accommodation is creating constraints and inflationary pressure on the tourism and hospitality industry. Tourism should be a major driver of jobs and investment but has steadily lost its gloss and prestige over the past decade. The industry is in desperate need of a major shake-up but I will leave it to the Minister for Tourism, Matthew Conlan, to update the House on important initiatives in his statement later today. In conclusion, it is our goal to develop a three-hub economy and build on the enormous potential presented by the Territorys rich natural resources and envious geographical proximity to Asia, but there are real challenges. We need to address key issues such as affordable housing, availability of skilled workforce, restoring the social fabric of our communities and making the Northern Territory an even more attractive location for investment. The Northern Territory has a bright future and Territorians and Territory businesses are capable of much more than just mining or oil and gas developments, as important as they are. We are committed to growing a bigger, stronger economy that will deliver greater prosperity and long-term job opportunities now and into the future. Madam Speaker, I move that the statement be noted. Mr GUNNER (Fannie Bay): Madam Speaker, I thank the Chief Minister for his statement about the three-hub economy. We had highlights of it during Question Time prior to the Chief Minister delivering his statement. I want to talk principally on the international education section. Unfortunately it was rather slim in the Chief Ministers contribution. It is something I find quite interesting. As a Caucus and party we support the efforts of the university as an exporter. As a deliverer of education, the Charles Darwin University can be classified as an exporter. It does a fantastic job. As the shadow education minister I have had the pleasure of catching up with Barney Glover. I know the Chief Minister has met with him as I am sure has the Minister for Education. I know the Chief Minister in his roles in previous terms has talked with Barney. A lot of information is missing from the Chief Ministers statement but might be coming later in other contributions. Mr Mills: From the Education minister. Mr GUNNER: Yes, from the Education minister about how we can work with the university
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