Department of the Legislative Assembly

ANSWERS TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS

17 September 2002

7. Police Station and Ambulance Centre in the Humpty Doo Region

Mr MALEY to MINISTER for POLICE, FIRE and EMERGENCY SERVICES

Minister, prior to the poll on 18 August 2001, both political parties made promises to construct a police, fire and emergency services facility in the Humpty Doo region.

1. Would you kindly confirm that the Labor government will honour its commitment to build a Police Station and Ambulance Centre within its first term of government in the Humpty Doo region.

2. If so, would you kindly advise:

(a) the proposed date when tenders will be issued for the construction of the facility;

(b) the proposed construction start date for the facility and the proposed duration for the construction of the police and ambulance facility;

(c) the proposed location of the facility and the date for its proposed completion and operational mission; and

(d) whether or not the facility will be part of a larger complex adjacent to the current gym and the proposed pool?

ANSWER

1. The Labor Government is committed to the construction of a Tri-Service facility at Humpty Doo. This will provide an operational centre for the Police, Fire and Emergency Services.

2. (a) The construction of the Tri-Service facility is currently on the 2002/03 Design List for construction in the 2003/2004 financial year.

(b) It is very difficult to place a commencement and completion date on the project this far out from commencement however construction should take approximately 20 weeks from the commencement.

(c) The proposed location is on vacant Crown Land which is part of section 2643 of the Arnhem Highway on the corner of 6 Gumtrees Road (which is to be renamed Spencely Road).

(d) The facility is not adjacent to the current gym and proposed pool.

See Attachment Pages 1-4

11. Dundee Beach Road

Mr MALEY to MINISTER for TRANSPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE and ESSENTIAL SERVICES

1. When will further public monies be spent in upgrading the road to Dundee Beach having regard to the renewed development in the area, increased heavy vehicle and trailer traffic, which the road endures on any given weekend?

2. Since many primary producers who are now producing large quantities of fruit and vegetables in the Dundee region and whose only means of transporting their produce is along a rough and corrugated roads, would the minister
confirm that during the picking season, particularly for mangoes, that there will be regular grades of Fog Bay road to ensure that trucks and large vehicles are able to travel without bruising and damaging produce?

ANSWER

1. An item for $1M is included in the 2002/03 approved Capital Works Program for the upgrading, sealing, and drainage of Fog Bay Road.

It is anticipated that these works will be advertised for public tender in February 2003.

Further items to continue the sealing of the road are included for consideration on future programs. Completion of sealing of the Fog Bay Road was included in the Government’s Projected Capital Works Program.

2. The grading cycle in this area is currently averaged on a four weekly basis. The Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment is in regular contact with mango producers in the area and grading cycles are
amended, where possible, to accommodate harvesting and transportation needs.

26 November 2002

19. PowerWater Dividends to Government

Mr DUNHAM to MINISTER for ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Why does Power and Water Corporation anticipate paying $10m as a dividend to the NT government in 2002-03, $14m in 2003-04, then dropping to $9m the following year? Explain the variation in dividends over this period.

ANSWER

The dividend payments detailed in the question are incorrect.

The dividend projections in the Statement of Corporate Intent (SCI) are $13 million for 2002/2003 and $9 million for 2003/2004 and 2004/2005. These figures represent 50 per cent of the projected profits after taxation.

The profits for Power and Water Corporation were projected to drop during 2003/2004 as competition increased and electricity sales revenue fell. As NT Power has withdrawn from the market, we are producing a revised SCI
incorporating revised sales and energy forecasts. This revised SCI will also incorporate revised dividend projections based on the revised profit forecasts. We anticipate finalising the revised SCI before the end of the
2002/2003 financial year.

22. Sewerage Charges

Mr DUNHAM to MINISTER for ESSENTIAL SERVICES

The increase of 2.5% in water and sewerage charges was, to quote the Chief Minister: ‘necessary to ensure that the business remains viable’.

Is this true?

Given that the measure of increasing charges will raise approximately $800 000 to $900 000 per annum, and that the profit yield for this year is $6m above the norm:

(a) Isn’t the question of viability an exaggeration?

(b) Couldn’t the increase in charges have been absorbed by reducing the record profit to levels approximate to the average?

ANSWER

The Power and Water Corporation does not recover the full cost associated with providing water and sewerage services in the Northern Territory. As a commercial entity, it is appropriate for Power and Water to progressively
move towards earning a commercial return in its water and sewerage businesses. This will require a combination of efficiency improvements, which Power and Water is already endeavouring to achieve, tariff increases over
time and appropriate levels of Community Service Obligation (CSO) funding.

Power and Water’s costs generally increase in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The 2.5 per cent increase in water and sewerage charges on 1 January 2003 was necessary to ensure that Power and Water’s water
and sewerage revenue increases in line with costs. Accordingly, the increase will only be sufficient to maintain the level of cost recovery around present levels. On this basis, the tariff increase is soundly justified.

If Power and Water does not continue to demonstrate progress in meeting this target, part of the Territory’s annual NCP payments could be put at risk.

25. Electricity Generation costs for the Territory

Mr DUNHAM to MINISTER for ESSENTIAL SERVICES

What is the real cost to PowerWater to generate electricity throughout the Northern Territory?

How much has this risen in 2001-2002, and what were the biggest contributors to the increase?

ANSWER

The cost to the Power and Water Corporation of generating electricity throughout the Northern Territory was $188.8 million in 2001/2002 and a projected cost of $186.2 million in 2002/2003.

The fall in cost of $2.6 million was attributable to a marginally lower level of production and to the use of more efficient gene ration facilities in Alice Springs.

27. Underground Power Priority Areas

Mr DUNHAM to MINISTER for ESSENTIAL SERVICES

The Chief Minister has said that the program to underground power has been staged on the basis of the highest priority going to areas with the highest power outages.

How many outages, and for what duration, did each of the 13 suburbs of Darwin with overhead power lines currently have for the year 2001-02?

List in order of priority the suburbs to have their power placed underground.

By what date will each suburb have their power placed underground?

What does the term, used by the Chief Minister, ‘preferred households’ mean when responding to a comment from the Leader of the Opposition? (Hansard Question Time on 13 August 2002)?

ANSWER

The Undergrounding Power Project is to commence in the 2003 Dry Season in the suburbs of Nightcliff and Rapid Creek. It has been determined, based on reliability data for the 12 months to September 2002 that the
Nightcliff feeder supplying the suburbs of Nightcliff, Rapid Creek and Alawa has the most customers (2680) affected by outages. The total number and duration of outages (14,822 customer hours) in these suburbs are
amongst the highest in the Darwin region and hence these suburbs have been ranked as the areas most likely to benefit from undergrounding. The program of works for the remaining suburbs will be considered at a
later date as priorities are likely to change in view of other ongoing maintenance programs undertaken by Power and Water ie tree trimming, tree replacement program, etc.

The timeframe for the project is 20 years with Nightcliff and Rapid Creek expected to take three to four years.

The term "preferred households" refers to those 8,958 urban residential lots (or approximately 16,000 customers) in Darwin's Northern Suburbs which make up the overall undergrounding program.

28. Increase in PowerWater Sewerage Charges

Mr DUNHAM to MINISTER for ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Operating on its new commercial basis, PowerWater has increased water and sewerage charges by 7.5% over 12 months

Given this commercial imperative, how can you guarantee that PowerWater won’t increase electricity charges on the same basis?

ANSWER

The Government has given a commitment that the price of electricity for domestic customers will not increase during this term of office.

The electricity prices for domestic and non-contestable commercial customers which can be charged by Power and Water are set by pricing orders issued by the Regulatory Minister.

Therefore the Government guarantees that Power and Water will not increase domestic electricity prices.

30. Darwin Harbour Shipping Activities

Mr MALEY to MINISTER for TRANSPORT and INFRASTRUCTURE

1. As East Arm Port becomes a major container railhead for Australia over the next decade, can the Northern Territory government confidently guarantee that the largest LNG ships in the world (290 m long),
daily plying harbour waters will not cause congestion and loss of commercial and public use in the Darwin Harbour?

2. How long will Darwin Harbour port and shipping activities be delayed, or even stopped, with the entrance of large tankers to the proposed Wickham Point gas plant?

ANSWER

1. Darwin Harbour has very wide navigational fairways which allows two-way movements with appropriate separation. Movement of vessels in the Harbour poses low impact risk to other users of the Harbour.
Phillip's ships will be up to 290m length overall. Similar sized ships regularly use the Darwin Harbour including Cruise Ships such as the QE2 at 295m length overall and United States Navy Boxer class
ships at 290m LOA. Safety zones of 1000 metres forward, 500 metres aft and 200 metres on each side of the moving vessel have been established for LNG carrier movements and will be applied in
Darwin Harbour.

The natural dogleg channel at the entrance to the Harbour acts as a restriction to deep draft loaded vessels at low tide and when applied, involves a transit time of approximately 12 minutes.

The restriction applies to existing shipping with Port entry procedures allowing only one deep draft vessel transit at any one time if deep draft clearance is required.

The number of commercial and large Defence vessels currently entering the Port is in the vicinity of 1,000 per year (i.e. approximately 3 per day of varying size and spread over a 24 hour period). With LNG
carriers predicted to be in the order of 78 per year for a 3mpta operation and 160 per year for a 10mtpa operation the added potential frequency for vessel conflict (i.e. up to 3 additional vessels per week) is
considered minimal and therefore is not considered to cause congestion and loss of commercial and public use of Darwin Harbour. All shipping movements in the Harbour are managed by the Port
Corporation Harbour Control with arrival and departure times co-ordinated so as to minimise impacts.

2. Given the above and the size of Darwin Harbour it is not envisaged that any delays or stoppages will occur with the entrance of large tankers to the proposed Wickham Point Gas Plant.

33. Parking at Tourism Locations

Mr MALEY to MINISTER for TOURISM

With tourism being the Northern Territory’s second largest industry, when will the government increase the number of car and bus parking places at popular tourist spots, particularly Litchfield Park?

ANSWER

Managing the number of car and bus parking places in NT National Parks is the responsibility of the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Environment’s division of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The Parks and Wildlife Service, which is part of the Conservation and Natural Resources Division, manages Litchfield National Park.

Our tourism industry relies on natural areas such as those found in our Parks and Reserves. 66% of visitors in the Territory went to a National Park in the 2001 calendar year (Source: NT Travel Monitor).
The primary object of management of protected areas such as Litchfield National Park is to protect the natural and cultural values, whilst allowing tourists to enjoy and use these areas. It is vitally important to the
sustainability of the industry that we maintain the quality of experience that attracts tourists to the Territory.

In some cases, this means that strategies to cap the number of visitors are introduced, sometimes through limiting car parking spaces. These strategies ensure that the impacts of tourists on the natural and
cultural values of site are minimised and help to maintain a quality experience of tourists. Buley Rockhole is a case in point. Parking at this site is limited to protect the environmental integrity of the area.

In other cases, sites that are able to sustain higher levels of visitation without significant impact on the values of the area may be expanded or further developed to cater for a majority of visitors. An upgrade and
expansion of the day use car park at Wangi Falls is on the current 02/03 capital works program. New areas may also need to be opened up to cater for larger numbers of tourists.

Decisions about development of parks and reserves are made through a planning process that takes account of the natural and cultural values of the area and the capacity of the site to sustain development and use.
Other considerations include the range of recreational opportunities available elsewhere and the type of experience one is trying to create.

Future car parking needs and development within the Litchfield National Park will be considered in the Park’s second Plan of Management, which is currently being prepared by Parks and Wildlife.

35. Glyde Point Infrastructure Planning Advice

Mr MALEY to MINISTER for TRANSPORT and INFRASTRUCTURE

Who, what, where and when, precisely was the $1.956m spent on in relation to the Glyde Point/Middle Arm infrastructure and planning advice?

ANSWER

The $1 956 000 is recorded on Page 30 of 2002-03 Budget Paper 4 as the revoted program for the project ‘Glyde Point/Middle Arm – infrastructure planning and advice’. The total year to date expenditure of $516 423 against
the program of $1 956 000 is outlined in the following table.


Date Company Reason Amount
13 Aug 02 Kellogg, Brown & Root Professional Services in connection with Industrial Estate Planning $81 071
15 Aug 02 URS Australia Pty Ltd Gap Analysis and Marine Survey $40 156
20 Sept 02 Kellogg, Brown & Root Provision of professional and technical advice on the proposed Industrial Estates at Glyde Point and Middle Arm Peninsula $58 939
21 Oct 02 Kellogg, Brown & Root Provision of professional and technical advice on the proposed Industrial Estates at Glyde Point and Middle Arm Peninsula including hydrographic surveys $43 277
28 Nov 02 URS Australia Pty Ltd Environmental Assessment Works $20 092
2 Dec 02 Kellogg, Brown & Root Provision of professional and technical advice on the proposed Industrial Estates at Glyde Point and Middle Arm Peninsula including options in regard to land reclamation $25 602
3 Dec 02 Kellogg, Brown & Root Provision of professional and technical advice on the proposed Industrial Estates at Glyde Point and Middle Arm Peninsula including storm surge analysis, development of earthwork and reclamation alternatives $58 437
3 Dec 02 KPMG Australia PTY Ltd Financial Advice – Glyde Point Industrial Estate $95 610
3 Dec 02 KPMG Australia PTY Ltd Financial Advice – Glyde Point Industrial Estate $93 239


36. Daily Prisoner Costs

Mr MALEY to MINISTER for CORRECTIONAL SERVICES

Why does it cost $152 per day to keep an adult prisoner (refer Budget Paper No 3, page 114) and $502 per day to keep a juvenile prisoner (refer Budget Paper No 3, page 115)?

ANSWER

The daily cost of keeping an adult prisoner/detainee in custody/detention is calculated by adding the total operating expenditure, including overheads, for the respective output (adult custodial/juvenile detention)
divided by the daily average number of prisoners/detainees for the period.

The daily average number of juvenile detainees per day for the current financial year to December 2002 was 24 while the average number of adult prisoners per day for the same period was 692.

The variance in the estimated cost between adult prisoners per day ($152) and juvenile detainees per day ($502) can be explained in terms of the advantages in the economies of scale of adult custody. Operating
expenses are significantly reduced when measured on a prisoner per day basis because of the larger volume of adult prisoners. The operating expenses for juvenile detention are higher against the measure per
detainee per day because of the lower numbers of detainees.

37. Smoke Pollution

Mr MALEY to MINISTER for POLICE, FIRE and EMERGENCY SERVICES

Regarding the increased smoke pollution this Dry Season, is the Government considering implementing a more effective fire management plan? What resources and finances are being added to combat this problem,
particularly regarding the Darwin, Palmerston and rural areas?

ANSWER

Air pollution is best addressed by managing air quality based on a sound understanding of the processes generating air pollutants of concern. Several targeted studies aimed at developing this understanding have been
completed or are continuing.

In general, the Darwin region and the Northern Territory as a whole have good air quality in comparison to other jurisdictions. Nonetheless, smoke pollution from landscape fires is significant at times. Studies of the Darwin
air shed in 2000 identified particulate matter from dry season bushfires as the primary air quality pollutant of concern in the region. Between March and December of that year, the level of particulate matter less than
10 microns in size (PM10), exceeded the national limit (50 micrograms per cubic metre) on two occasions for a total of six days. One of the goals of the National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure is to
contain this exceedence to no more than five days each year by 2008.

Subsequent research in 2001 showed that 13% of the asthma presentations at Royal Darwin Hospital between April and October 2000 were attributed to elevated levels of particulate matter.

Studies assessing the characteristics of bushfires in the region have also been commenced. The NT Bushfires Council is undertaking an assessment of historical bush fire patterns in the Darwin region since 1990.
This assessment was commenced in late 2001, with mapping completed of fires in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Fire management affects many aspects of the lives of Territorians including security of property, agricultural activities and cultural practices. In addition, fire management has significant ramifications for ambient air quality,
biodiversity conservation and greenhouse gas emissions. Planning to minimise the impacts of smoke pollution from bushfires must consider all of these issues.

The Government is collaborating with the Northern Territory University and the Menzies School of Health Research on a three year proposal to further investigate the links between bushfire smoke, air pollution and impacts on
human health. The proposal involves a Commonwealth contribution of funds and the outcome of the funding bid is not expected to be known until mid 2003.

In addition, the NT Government is examining the feasibility of supporting Aboriginal Traditional Owner methods of fire control to limit the spread and size of fires in Arnhem Land. This may indirectly improve air quality in the Darwin,
Palmerston and rural areas as it has been demonstrated that smoke from fires in Arnhem Land can affect Darwin late in the dry season.
Last updated: 04 Aug 2016