Parliamentary record : Part I debates (17 June 1986)
Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 17 June 1986 Of course, the Darwin Airport rated a mention in Senator Robertson's speech. We can all picture how the party faithful would have soaked up the gripping words from the man who spends each day in the halls of power with his colleagues in Canberra. I would like to quote 2 paragraphs from his report to the ALP conference: The construction of the Tindal RAAF Base and the large scale allocation for road construction in the Territory are 2 of many positive programs funded by the federal government in the Northern Territory. However, it would be remiss of me if I did not mention the action - or should I say lack of action - by the federal government which has created a sense of widespread frustration among Territorians; namely, its failure to announce a decision on the Darwin Airport. During this year and last, I have pressed the minister, Peter Morris, for an urgent decision on the project but the only response has been that he is waiting for all the facts and recommendations to be presented to him before a decision can be announced. The wait we are experiencing in regard to this decision is unreasonable and damaging to the party in the Territory and I have told the minister this on several occasions. I will continue to press the federal government and Peter Morris to urgently announce a decision for the sake of Territorians regarding the Darwin Airport project. Mr Deputy Speaker, with a dynamo like that in Canberra, it is no wonder that a new airport terminal is not being constructed in Darwin, that the Alice Springs Airport has just had the chop, that we do not have the promised railway or the Kakadu tourist facilities or the changes to the land Rights Act, that the superannuation agreement was torn up about 18 months ago, and that we are still paying sales tax on the freight component of the price of goods. The good senator says that he has pressed the minister and will continue to press the minister for a decision on the airport. He does not even say that he wants a positive decision; he is just pressing for a decision. Have you ever heard such a cringing - I will not say it, Mr Deputy Speaker, because I will only have to withdraw it. In August 1983, the federal government told Territorians that the new Darwin Airport terminal would commence construction in the 1983-84 financial year. The leader of the Opposition, who thought he could smell a winner, told this Assembly a few months before that the Minister for Transport, Mr Morris, was okay. He said: 'Peter Morris impresses me as one minister who is well and truly on top of his job'. It is in Hansard, Mr Deputy Speaker. That was good news for us at the time. The federal labor government had been in power for some months so there was no massive, unforeseen deficit to be blamed for cancelling projects. It was all clear sailing. We had the world's greatest treasurer at the helm and a minister who impressed the leader of the Opposition as being on top of his job. Nothing could possibly go wrong with our airport. The leader of the Opposition climbed in and gave the Assembly a sneak preview of the coming federal budget during the adjournment debate on 23 August 1983. He said: 'I am confident that, despite this scaremongering of the government' - that is this government, Mr Deputy Speaker - 'there will be no gold tax introduced to the detriment of Tennant Creek. I am confident that the electricity subsidy for Darwin will be maintained by the federal government and I am confident that this budget will contain a start to the Darwin Airport'. I think he was wrong on all 3 counts but we are only talking about the airport at the moment. 51
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