Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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 - Thursday 16 February 1989 this debate has been under way. They have been whizzing in and out doing their little I-liners on the TV. Mr Speaker, we are doing what is best for the people in this area. believe that our programs are sound and that the objectives we are pursuing are sound. We will continue to pursue them. People in the Northern Territory who require treatment provided within the scope of the mental health services, and their families, should rest easy that that treatment is second to none in Australia. They should have confidence in yet another aspect of our administration of the Northern Territory. Motion agreed to. STATEMENT Port of Darwin Mr FINCH (Transport and Works): Mr Speaker, it is my intention today to present a statement to the House on the Port of Darwin. Much has been said in recent years about the need to upgrade a wide range of Territory transport infrastructure. We know of the desperate need for the earliest possible start to the upgrading of our 2 key airports, Darwin and Alice Springs, and of the economic boost to the Territory that will flow from these critical deve 1 opments. . We know too that the Territory needs more all-weather roads but, because of the limitations on federal funding and the fact that the financial outlay required for such work is prohibitive, only those roads deemed to be of economic significance or with a high safety priority can be attended to at present. We know also that a railway line from Darwin to Alice Springs would revolutionise the face of transport in the Territory but that there are still a number of hurdles to be crossed before Darwin again echoes to the shriek of the locomotive whistle. There is, however, one key area of transport which has received only scant attention in recent times. This sometimes overlooked arm of Territory transport is the Port of Dat'win and our shipping services. While the impact on the Territory economy of redeveloped airports, improved roads and the north-south railway has been spoken of in detail, the significance of the port to the Territory is little understood. The Territory's geographic position in relation to South-east Asia has long been recognised as potentially one of our most valuable assets. When you consider the Port of Darwin's proximity to South-east Asia, it is glaringly obvious that it should be Australia's front door for maritime trade with the region. Darwin is about 5 days' steaming time from Singapore and about 4 days from Tanjun Priok, the port for the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. It takes an additional 6 to 7 days for ships from either Singapore or Tanjun Priok to reach Sydney or Melbourne. Cargo discharged at the Port of Darwin and then trucked south by road or road/rail reaches either Sydney or Melbourne within 3 days. This, coupled with the often staggering delays affecting the clearance o.f cargo in major Australian ports, gives Darwin a decided time advantage over southern ports. In major southern ports, it is not too uncommon for backlogs of cargo to be delayed in container yards or sheds for weeks before being cleared,where~s in Darwin cargo can be cleared within a day. The Territory itself has neither the population base nor the industrial or commercial base to generate high volumes of shipping services through the 5584
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