Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Questions without Notice
Northern Australia: Infrastructure
I thank Senator Macdonald for his question and longstanding passion to see the development of the north. Senator Macdonald's efforts are certainly starting to bear fruit now. It is great to have been able to announce in the last few weeks a major investment and project in the Northern Territory in particular. I did so with my colleague Senator Scullion in Darwin a couple of weeks ago. We were there to announce a major investment in Northern Territory airports across the whole of the Territory, a $300 million project that was being helped to get across the line through a $150 million loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. So that's $150 million from this government to create jobs and opportunity in the Territory. This project will deliver 1,500 jobs in construction and another 140 jobs in the ongoing work, following construction, of the project.
More importantly, these investments, our northern development agenda, are about increasing the capability of northern Australia, not just the direct jobs involved in this investment. This project will go towards expanding storage at the Darwin airport. That will allow horticulturists and farmers in the Territory to export more of their produce, like high-class mangoes and other high-class, high-value products, to the growing markets of Asia. It will also improve the energy requirements across Northern Territory airports, with solar and batteries going in across Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek. The investments will also include increases in taxiways and runways at the Alice Springs Airport. All of these investments help the Territory and respond to the fact that Darwin and the Territory are facing challenges with the wind-down of the large INPEX gas project at the moment. But the Commonwealth government is providing investment, is providing jobs and is backing the development of northern Australia, and it's great to see these programs finally bearing fruit.