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A stronger Northern Territory

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Media Release

THE HON ALEX SOMLYAY MR Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government

A S t r o n g e r N o r t h e r n T e r r i t o r y

Only the Coalition has the track record and commitment to deliver the foundations for A Stronger Northern Territory.

The Coalition will continue to work with the Northern Territory Government to support infrastructure and economic development projects that will provide jobs and opportunities for all Territorians.

The Coalition will continue to support an environmentally rigorous Jabiluka uranium project, which will deliver significant economic and social benefits to the Territory - boosting gross domestic product by $3.8 billion; generating $12 billion in revenue over 25 years; supporting up to 1,200 jobs and providing the local Aboriginal community with $210 million in royalties.

The Coalition’s commitment to this project is in stark contrast to Labor’s 13 year record of obstruction and interference in this and many other resource development projects. Labor’s restrictive and illogical policies cost Australia, and the NT in particular, billions of dollars in lost export income and thousands of jobs.

The Coalition will also build on its commitment of $100 million to the Alice Springs to Darwin railway - by legislating, if necessary, to enable the NT Government to acquire, on a non-discriminatory basis, all interests in land required to construct the railway.

The railway is a major national project, creating more than 2,000 jobs during construction; providing a direct link for exporters to Asian markets through Darwin’s new port facility; and opening up new business and development opportunities along the route.

Labor did nothing to realise this project, despite promising action at almost every election since 1983. Labor has refused to say that they will support the legislation if necessary.

A Stronger Northern Territory - Coalition Election Policy

The Territory will also benefit significantly from the Coalition’s Tax Plan:

♦ The financial independence of the NT Government will be improved with access to a secure and growing revenue base;

♦ Fuel costs for the Territory’s mining, petroleum exploration and production, transport and tourism industries will be slashed;

♦ Export costs will be cut dramatically and NT exporters will become more competitive internationally; and

♦ Businesses based in the Territory will share in a $10 billion reduction in business costs.

Labor has no plan to cut the tax burden on businesses, boost investment and create jobs. Labor wants higher transport costs.

Only the Coalition is committed to working with the NT community towards the admission of the Territory as a new State on 1 January 2001 - as the Prime Minister has said, ‘A New State for a New Century.’

There are many issues to be resolved in the lead-up to Statehood and the Coalition will engage in an inclusive process of consultation with the NT Government and all interested parties, including the NT Aboriginal community, to ensure a smooth transition to Statehood. The Coalition will also appoint a special Statehood Task Force to assist in the process.

Statehood should be a bipartisan matter but after 13 years of failing to advance the ambitions of Territorians, Labor has decided to play politics with the issue. Labor has sought to block every step over the last six months - objecting to the N T Constitutional Convention; objecting to the draft constitution developed by the Convention; and objecting to the NT Government’s decision to hold a referendum on the question of Statehood in conjunction with the Federal election.

Despite a lame promise that they would ‘like to see’ Statehood for the Territory on 1 January 2001, Labor has no plan for delivering Statehood.

Labor failed the Northern Territory in the past and, unlike the Coalition, has nothing to offer the Territory in the future.

Labor have not changed. They are opposed to a huge, environmentally balanced, job generating Jabiluka; do not support legislation to safeguard the Alice Springs to Darwin railway; and are obstructing moves to Statehood.

The Northern Territory cannot afford a return to Labor.

30 September 1998

Contact: Graeme Hallett 0419 218 469 or (02) 6277 7060

A Stronger Northern Territory - Coalition Election Policy