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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3926

Ms MacTIERNAN (Perth) (10:52): It is very rewarding that, in my last week in this place, I feel that I have actually achieved something. I am extremely pleased that the government has agreed to amend this bill to rectify what I considered to be a considerable injustice embedded in the original formulation of the legislation. Because of the very complex and convoluted definitions that were being used, I am sure that most people were unaware that parts of Western Australia above the Tropic of Capricorn were excluded—Coral Bay, the whole Cape Range National Park and all the developments along there, as well is a great proportion of the area that lies between the 26th parallel and the Tropic of Capricorn—in Western Australia has always been considered part of the North-West. I want to commend the Gascoyne Development Commission and the Pilbara Development Commission for bringing this to my attention while we were in China a couple of weeks ago representing Northern Australia at an investment conference. They showed me the definition and expressed their concern. I began to pull it apart and I contacted my colleagues on the committee, asking them to have a look at that. Unfortunately because I was in China I was not able to be there to drive that, but I do want to thank the chairman of the committee for providing support so that we were eventually able to get this amended.

To me, this is really important. I guess I have always have a particular affection for Carnarvon, ever since I worked there in 1980. The real potential of the town of Carnarvon has never been met. There is an opportunity right up that Ningaloo Coast for tourism development and horticulture development. It is a great little horticultural area. We need at least another 400 hectares, if not another 800 hectares, to be added to that precinct and for that we need investment in water infrastructure. I am pleased to see that Andrew Forrest himself has now got involved in pastoralism in the Gascoyne, and I think with better infrastructure we will see the pastoral industry, together with the horticultural industry, taking a great leap forward. We can look forward to much greater development in the precinct, exploiting the opportunities that lie there. But we do need investment. We need access to this important loan facilitation fund to enable those areas to have concessional access to finance. It is a good piece of legislation. I hope that we hand this money out very judiciously, that proper cost-benefit analyses are done before these funds are allocated, but I do think that we can see great potential for Northern Australia to go forward using these facilities. I am pleased to have been able to play my little bit in ensuring that Western Australia receives equal treatment with Queensland and the Northern Territory in that regard.