Tuesday, 12 February 2019
It is our first week back in parliament, but it's been a busy start to 2019 up in the northern capital of Australia, in my electorate of Solomon. We had a visit very early in the year from the leader of the federal opposition, Bill Shorten, who came up to the Top End to announce that a federal Labor government will invest $220 million to enhance Kakadu as a tourist destination but also to secure the township of Jabiru, post the ERA mine.
Tourism is a key economic driver in the Northern Territory, and this funding will secure Kakadu as the premium tourist destination that it is, not only for Territorians to visit but for our fellow Australians and people from all over the world. But there is a difference. The Prime Minister found out that the Leader of the Opposition was to make this announcement, so he flew up and made a Kakadu-light announcement over 10 years. That's not very helpful when Kakadu needs support now. What the Leader of the Opposition has committed to—from the very first budget—is that those funds will hit the ground and be starting to move Kakadu towards a secure future. This is all about locking in more visitors to Kakadu. Even though it is in the electorate of my good friend the member for Lingiari, a lot of tourism operators in my electorate very much depend on getting people from all around the world out to Kakadu. More money spent in the Territory, in Darwin, means more jobs for locals.
While the federal Leader of the Opposition was in Darwin, I also took the opportunity to announce that we will invest in the City of Palmerston $5 million for an upgrade to the Palmerston swimming pool. The pool's almost 30 years old and it's leaking. It's in need of a serious upgrade. The people of Palmerston deserve a great quality facility there. It's important social infrastructure. With the Palmerston City Council and the Northern Territory government, we'll ensure that it continues to serve that great community of Palmerston for decades to come. I want to thank the mayor of Palmerston, Athina Pascoe-Bell, and her aldermen for their great work and for campaigning long and hard on that issue. I also want to thank my good friend, the member for Kingston, Amanda Rishworth, who made yet another visit to Darwin to talk about NT preschools, about three-year-old preschool, which is a great Labor policy, and also about some funding for the Darwin Toy Library. Giving kids the best possible start in life will make all the difference in the world, and I'm proud of the support Labor's giving the Territory.