Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)



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





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 16 February 1989 before passing through customs and quarantine and eventually reaching the warehouses of the importers. That is in addition to the time already spent in travelling all the way down the east or west coast from Singapore or Hong Kong. That time would be reduced considerably if the goods were off-loaded in Darwi n. ~Je cou 1 d have the product across our wharf wi thi n a day or so and use the railway or road transporters, who offer very reasonable rates for backloading, to have the product in warehouses in southern capital cities within an additional 4 or 5 days, a considerable saving in time. Whilst one must admit that our freight rates are fairly uncompetitive, our competitiveness comes from the savings in time which we can offer. That is attractive to importers, many of whom pay for their product at the port of exit and have their money tied up until it reaches their warehouses. If shipping goods through the Port of Darwin can cut 4 or 5 weeks off the time between their leaving the exit port and reaching the warehouse, it is a very attractive proposition, given that importers are often paying overdraft rates of between 18% and 22%. When a cargo worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is involved, those rates amount to an enormous amount of money. We need to produce a cost-benefit analysis of this whole scenario and the various equations so that we can explain the benefits to importers and exporters in dollars and cents. We will not sell the Port of Darwin by saying that it is geographically close and that we can offer cheap backloading rates for freight. We must be able to prove these benefits logically and in financial terms. Another aspect that we may need to look at in the future is additional bulk-handling facilities. I am not talking about containers because we have adequate facilities to handle containers. I am talking about facilities for loose products such as cement. Mr Finch: We do now. Mr SETTER: Perhaps such facilities are there alre~dy and the minister can explain that for us. I was thinking particularly about clinker which could be imported from Kupang in South-east Asia which produces considerable quantities of cement. Kupang has the capacity to produce about 20 000 t of clinker per annum. That could be used in our cement factory. How would we handle that particular product? I do not kno~ how it is handled at the moment and I hope that the minister can clarify that point. Already, a considerable amount of cargo from South-east Asia comes through the port. Importers of timber are bri ngi ng products from Ma 1 ays i a, from Kalimantan and from New Guinea and, hopefully in the near future, from Seram in the Province of Maluku in Indonesia through the Port of Darwin. The majority of that timber product will not be consumed by the Northern Territory construction industry, it will be sold interstate in bul k lots. It is transported down the Stuart Highway to the capital cities. It is a very successful business. Mr Roger Rooney has a contract to supply silica sand somewhere in South Australia where there is a major steel manufacturing plant. Silica sands are used in that process and they are being brought from somewhere in Indonesia. It is transported in bulk and is being trucked down the highway. ~Ie are trading in 1 ive cattle. We have the potential to import enormous amounts of coffee and spices which are produced immediately to our north. People in the Trade Development Zone are importing yarn, cloth and various other components which are then manufactured into goods in the zone. Somebody 5596