Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 August 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 16 August 1990 That demands that certain things be put in place. There is still some room to improve communications between the top end of Australia and the near Asian region. Obviously, we need a concerted and consistent approach to that. There is a need also to improve the banking and finance facilities in Darwin to enable these international transactions to occur. It was not too long ago that none of the major banks in the Northern Territory had any experts in dealing with international finance. As a result of developments in the past few years, we have made a start. We now have local experts in the major banks who can handle these matters of international finance, but there is certainly much to be done in that area. I think that, with a bit of forethought, it is possible to turn Darwin into a major banking and finance sector for the whole of the Asian region. It certainly needs one. For many people, Singapore is perhaps too big for their needs and, if we can i dent i fy ways in whi ch we can provi de banki ng and fi nance servi ces for the region, I think that will be a profitable area of growth as well. Of course, we have education and health, and the export of those services and the import of students into the Northern Territory. Quite clearly, the initiative announced today is one particular service that has been developed in the broad education area. I have no doubt that there will be enormous potential for the top end of Australia to develop both education and hea lth servi ces for the whole of the near As i an regi on. It is an enormous growth area that we have to make the best of, and we have to ensure that we are in there for our share of it. It 'is a very competitive area, particularly in the field of education. Universities and COlleges right across Australia are attempting to get into the Asian market, both by sending lecturers overseas to run courses and by encouraging students to come to Australia, because it is a major way that those institutions can grow. But again, because of our location and because of our geographical and climatic advantages, I think that, with a concerted effort, we have an enormous potential to do very well in those areas as well. It goes without saying that, equally in the tourism and recreational areas, there is potential for further exciting developments. To pull it all together, we need some sort of coord i nat i on. That has been one of the problems with the way the government has handled these general questions of export and forei gn investment in the Northern Terri tory in the past. There has not been sufficient coordination. There has been a need to pull it all together. One of our propos it ions is des i gned to do that, and that is the concept of Trade North. Under a Labor government, Trade North will pu 11 together the major groups within government who are dealing with our export potential and with private investment, and it will run them in a coordinated manner to ensure that government knows where it is going and is able to get out there and provide the clearest possible assistance to people who want to be involved in that area. We will not restrict ourselves to the traditional export areas. As I have said, I think a major change is occurring in terms of people's thinking about what we can do with the near Asian region and where the market opportunities lie, and that change is as much in the realm of ideas as it is in the sale of manufactured or horticultural goods. I do not want to hold up the business of the Assembly any longer, but I did want to take this opportunity to congratulate the government on the initiative that has been announced in this statement, and to say that members on this side of the House see that the Territory's future in the next 20, 30, 50 years will be linked very closely to the future of the near Asian region. Mr HARRIS (Education): Mr Speaker, it gives me a great deal of pleasure today to rise to support the Minister for Labour, Administrative 9885
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