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 7408 any secret that to build Weddell will be the next best project but it will not be as big as INPEX. It is a good project and if done right, we could lead the world in good design for tropical cities. We would not have to put the pressure that has been put on the rural area to become a pseudo-Weddell. What is the next plan to make sure businesses will continue in the Northern Territory once INPEX goes? That is a fair question the government needs to answer. Does it have some plans in mind of how to maintain as much of the workforce as possible? Naturally there will be a big reduction in the workforce because INPEX has up to about 8000 workers this year. There is not the need for that number of workers in the Northern Territory, so they will obviously go to other projects somewhere in Australia or the world. We still have our local businesses that need to be supported. That is probably the biggest thing that can come out of todays discussion. I am interested to hear what the Minister for Business has to say about that and what he has heard in relation to many of these middle-size companies struggling. Sometimes you come across people by accident. To some extent that is what I did the other day. I was at a manufacturing site, The Big Shed, where there are only a couple of people working. I sat down with the manager of the site plus a steel supplier. They are the ones who told me there had been a meeting at the Chamber of Commerce where about 40 companies had said they are in dire straits if something does not happen. Has that message gone to the Minister for Business, or is it not proper to pass some sad stories on when the government does not want to talk about sad stories but only good stories? There is nothing wrong with good stories, but if people are going broke while you are putting ads in the paper about the good stories, then you will be seen to be hypocritical. On the issue of the hospital, I find it amazing that government could waste money filling in a hole. People see through that as a bit like what happened the other night in here a waste of time, money and effort. They would like to be told when the hospital is finished, not when you have dug a hole in the ground. It is not like a church where you have to bless a certain rock and consecrate the church before you start. I see things being constructed. Houses are constructed. Someone comes and puts the sewerage and water systems in the ground, then the water. That is put in the ground first because it has to come up through the floor. I did not see any of that. Then you lay out the floor, fill it in with arc mesh and all sorts of things, and then fill it with concrete. Then you have the base for your building. We got a hole in the ground. I went there on the Sunday to see where it was. There were four panels of security fence across a track telling me to keep out. Keep out of what? The other side of nowhere? It was an infinite site. Instead of doing those sorts of things, which Natasha Griggs called an orchestrated stunt, government would be better to concentrate on a progress report. It does not cost money to do that. They could then tell us what stage the government is at with the hospital. People want the hospital to be built. The best thing to do is to say, Yes, we are now pouring the floor for the hospital and that will be completed. If you give a staged report, you say, Okay, we have now finished the road into the hospital or We have finished the car park or We have done the first floor, etcetera. That is the sort of thing people expect the government to do. Forget about that, because the hole is a repeat of what we saw before with a helicopter and a bulldozer. People saw that as a joke and it cost taxpayers money ... Mr Elferink: Well, that is not true. Mr WOOD: Well, they did. It cost money to have a helicopter and get a bulldozer. The road was going to be built anyway, and you brought a bulldozer in for half a day Mr Elferink: I was on site on Sunday, and I can tell you works are going well. Mr WOOD: That is fine. Why did Natasha Griggs call it an orchestrated stunt? Mr Elferink: I have no idea. She is not correct. Mr WOOD: I am glad work is being done on that hospital but why do it that way? It might sound great to you; you have the media there. I understand that, but people see through it, especially when you find out it has been covered up not in the criminal way, but covered up by soil ... Mr Elferink: Now I will have to respond to you. Mr WOOD: Good, because I had a question which might never get to you. Why did the minister do that? That is a reasonable question ... Mr Elferink: And you will get an answer. Mr WOOD: Okay, that is good. Why did the minister dig a hole and put concrete in it? Mr Elferink: Because it is part of the hospital. Mr WOOD: I understand that ... Mr Westra van Holthe: It is a foundation, Gerry.