Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015

Other title

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





Publisher name

Hansard Office

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES Thursday 19 November 2015 7407 should be asking if contractors are working on the same level and whether it is fair that somebody is partly subsidised to operate in the Northern Territory. The minister mentioned a range of companies doing work in the Northern Territory. I wrote to the minister asking for a list. No doubt many Northern Territory companies have contracts, which is good. The other question I asked in my written question, which was not answered, was whether I could be given a list of the subcontractors. Probably what I should have also asked is whether I could get a list of the suppliers of the materials. Are companies buying from local suppliers or are they going south? Suppliers will go broke as well. If people are not buying steel or furnishings from local companies but sourcing it from down south, that will have an effect. Yes, the main company might be fine, but the other people who depend on that company buying their goods and services might be struggling. I went past Steelcon the other day during the big storm, and there is a piece of Darwin history gone. It is a company that has been around for many years in the construction business of the Northern Territory. I did not hear anything mentioned about it. The government members need to get out of the air conditioned motor cars and walk the businesses in East Arm, Berrimah, 11 Mile and Holtze, and talk to people to see how they are going. Yes, you will get some good news stories. No doubt some people have done very well out of INPEX being in the Northern Territory, especially the service industries and the pubs. The pubs are rubbing their hands with glee that the government decided to double the number of pokies. Yes, that is good business. The pokies that were 1c in Howard Springs Tavern are now 10c and 20c. It is good for business, but whether it is good for society is another matter. It is good for the government to make a statement, but it is funny that I am continually asked by people on the ground, What is happening. Why is my business going broke? Why am I putting people off? It is good the government can make statements about how many contracts it has and that some will be awarded to local companies, but have you looked at the local companies that are missing out? The minister also mentioned the Indigenous employment program, which came to my attention recently. He made a statement that the previous government did not do anything. That is wrong because SIHIP had a program of employing Aboriginal people. We need to get some things correct. That does not mean SIHIP was a success when it employed Aboriginal people. The key question you have to ask which I would have loved to have asked the minister is that you can employ 200 people, but are they the same 200 people six months down the track? Employment is about training and giving people skills for future jobs. You do not want 100 of those 200 people only working for one week. When you give statistics do not do what the Labor federal government did when it won the award for Aboriginal employment on SIHIP. What they did not say was that only a small percentage of Aboriginal people worked more than six months. If you are fair dinkum about Aboriginal employment, you must make sure there are proper outcomes, not pretend outcomes written on a bit of paper. The issue of Aboriginal employment is important, but if you have employment out bush and you want more people to be employed, you need to give figures for the numbers out bush as well. The Tiger Brennan Drive upgrade is an urban contract and I believe most Indigenous employment on that contract would be local, which is fair enough. I am not saying that should not happen, but you have the highest unemployment out bush. I would have liked some of those figures the minister gave us analysed a bit more. I have some concerns about some of the contracts out bush. I raised those in written questions and the answers have raised more questions, especially when you see two contracts come in for the same number of houses and they are $3m apart. Have there been a lot of requests for adjustments to the contract? It seems strange you can have one contract for a batch of houses from one company and another one for 20 houses from another contractor and there is a $3m difference. It seems a big difference between the contracts. There obviously is business out there. As I said, the pubs are doing pretty well. Much of that is to do with the FIFO people. I presume the hire car people are doing very well with the number of four-wheel drives travelling around with reflective stripes and flags on the top. Thrifty must be very happy that INPEX came to town. We have all learnt since how to reverse into car parks. Obviously there is some benefit for the government in the form of motor registration and those types of things. The food industry and clothing industry have also had benefits with safety clothes, etcetera, through INPEX being here. But what will happen to businesses once INPEX is finished? What are the governments plans for business when INPEX folds up? It probably has three more years and will be on a declining curve. I have told the Chief Minister I do not think it is