Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 13 February 2014

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Parliamentary Record 10


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 Thursday 13 February 2014 3412 Australia found itself in going into the global financial crisis. There was no debt, $45m in the bank. What happened? The debt started to mount the moment Labor was elected. It spent the $45m and started borrowing money. It continued to borrow money and throw it around the place, busier than a one-armed paper hanger. We have plenty of examples of the waste that occurred when Labor was in government for six years. When we look for help from the feds to raise some money to get things, it is a challenge. We go to Canberra and speak to people. We are trying to encourage the development of the north; there is an enormous amount of infrastructure required, and it will be a challenge for us to get money and assistance from the federal government. Like us, it has been left with an enormous Labor debt. We have a budget, though, and we will be using that budget wisely to support, where we can, the wealth creation of private industries. A study on infrastructure and transport requirements throughout the Territory is due to be completed by the end of 2014, and the report will identify what general community, utility and transport infrastructure is required. We can then start to target where we will spend our money and where we will get the best results and the quickest return to assist the people of the Northern Territory in getting rid of debt and increasing economic activity. We will be working very closely with the Department of Mines and Energy, the resource and transport industries and community stakeholders to get down to the nuts and bolts of what resource activity is, what the forecasts are and what infrastructure is needed to support exploration and the movement and export of product. From that report we will develop a prioritised program of recommended regional infrastructure works. This will not only help us use available funding smarter, but will provide an evidence base to assist us to seek new funding. If we have a plan and we are in the business of making plans we will develop that plan, and ensure we have it right. We can then go to Canberra and seek some support, especially from the Prime Minister with his 2030 vision for the development of northern Australia. Last year in parliament I outlined that the Northern Territory government has commenced very important work in developing our integrated transport planning investment road map. This is very interesting work. The long-term plan for the Northern Territorys transport system development will be at a very high level. There will be two major strategies being developed under that road map to strongly support the resource sector. Those are the roads and bridge strategy and, from memory, the freight and logistics industry strategy. The freight and logistics strategy will identify resource development areas, current and emerging freight routes and will look at freight and logistics infrastructure required to move freight, including ports, airports, railways, roads, hubs and other important transport requirements. It will identify what freight corridors and areas need protecting for the future so we can put those corridors in now before things are built out and overcrowded. This is so, in hundreds of years, people can look back and say at least somebody got that right when they put freight corridors there. Importantly, it will identify costs and funding for investment sources. It will also ensure we have appropriately trained and skilled people in the transport sector to help drive growth and the development of the sector. I note there are companies in the transport industry which have great training plans. I was talking to people at Maningrida the other day. A new company has arrived, a new barge operator, which is looking at employing local people to do stevedoring. It is prepared to help people. I know Toll is also out there doing similar things. We now have some competition in the barge industry that is creating local employment so Aboriginal people have real and sustainable jobs in communities across the Northern Territory. It will also ensure we have a number of major infrastructure development projects planned or considered for further detailed feasibility studies. We need to have things in the pipeline. We need long-term planning. I can assure people listening and who later read this Parliamentary Record that is well under way and the strategies we will put into the road map will all facilitate where we go in the long and short-term. All of those projects will be strongly supported. We will support the resource sector. We will include things like further development of the port of Darwin. We still have much work to do planning for the second port at Glyde Point, including the extension of the rail line to the port. There are people talking about the extractive minerals industry. When you look at a map of existing Territory mines and see the people who have an interest in opening new mines if you go a couple of hundred kilometres either side of the rail corridor there are over 100 new mines likely to open up. Like any mining industry, it needs to be able to transport its product to a market. If the market is overseas, it needs a port it can move it to in a timely manner so it can get a return on its money. It is no good having a port you cannot get anything out of or which is overcrowded and you must wait six months to get products out. The