Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015

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Parliamentary Record 24


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 19 November 2015 7406 government because it has had to make some tough decisions over the years. Territorians have borne some pain delivered to them not by this government but the former Labor government that was like me in a lolly shop: out of control. They have no idea when it comes to understanding economics. They do not understand how to operate a government with a long-term future because they are too interested in shining the baubles and making sure people are lost in the gloss. This is a government that is getting on and providing infrastructure for a Northern Territory not just for my children but my childrens children. This is a government that is focused on a long-term program and building the north. We are focused on turning this Territory into something. We on this side know the potential of the Northern Territory. If we have to go back to being led by a Labor government, God help us because we will be back in debt. It will take another conservative government to come in, make tough decisions and get us out of debt again. Look at history Mr Westra van Holthe: That is the cycle. Mr CHANDLER: It is a cycle, is it not? They can spin it any way they want. I listened intently to the Leader of the Opposition. He said all the right words. It was a beautiful statement but it was not backed up with how they would govern. Looking at history, we know how they did it. Half of those members over there were advisers to the former government and provided the advice that put them in the hole we had to fill for them. You want to talk about a hole at the Palmerston hospital? How about the hole that was the Territory budget? That was a $5.5bn hole. The work of this Country Liberals government has turned the Northern Territory around. They are working hard because they want the Treasury benches. They know the position the government and Treasury are in today and they would love to get their greedy little hands on it. Territorians are smarter than that and can see the potential of this government. It is not just talk or rhetoric; it is get on with it. The dynamo this government is, is spinning so fast that a few have probably fallen off because they could not hold on to what is happening in the Northern Territory. I am excited because I know the potential of this team and of the Northern Territory. You have to have a government that has the courage to hang on and make the right decisions to ensure the Territory goes forward. Madam Speaker, I commend this statement to the House. I commend the Minister for Business for being engaged with our Asian neighbours and the business community, and for driving forward the economy of the Northern Territory. Mr WOOD (Nelson): Madam Speaker, I was not intending to speak on this, but having listened to the minister, I thought I should. Good news stories are great but they need a touch of reality. Guess which company that has been serving the Territory for many years had an auction on the weekend? Steelcon, one of our biggest companies. It has gone. Why has it gone? Because a lot of middle businesses are going broke. I was doorknocking in the Thorngate Road industrial area recently and came across a supplier who told me 40 companies had been to the Chamber of Commerce recently, saying they were basically right on the soles of their feet in relation to remaining in business. I spoke to someone from a construction company that builds and maintains houses in Arnhem Land, and they put 35 people off the other day. There is no work. It is fine to say some businesses are doing well, but some businesses are struggling. That is not coming from me. Sometimes people should drive around the industrial area and see who is struggling. Where is Richards Crane Hire now which had set up in the industrial area at Berrimah? Gone. Jakes Steel & Welding is struggling to get work. This is where the government loses the plot. The minister said it is great because interstate companies provide competition. That may be the case, but the one big issue the government forgets is that local companies sometimes might be dearer, but they have families in the Territory. When we are looking at contracts we need to make sure value is given to keeping families in the Northern Territory. Local businesses provide the fabric of our society. If those local businesses close or leave town you have to ask whether something is wrong. They may not be able to compete. I have heard stories of companies wanting to get into the Northern Territory that cut the guts out of the contract. In fact, I heard of one company that cut it so much it tried to get steel from interstate but it was not up to the standard required. They had to ask local steel companies for their prices, and you know what they said. Yes, it is good that the government tries to stimulate business but it is not always the case. There is one construction company in Arnhem Land this is the complaint I received that is supported 25% by Indigenous Business Australia and is competing with Territory contractors. I would like to know how a government organisation funded by the taxpayers can be part of a company that competes with private companies? Is that a level playing field? I am not sure. The minister