Today I joined with the Chief Minister, Paul Henderson, and Federal Member for Solomon, Damian Hale to visit the Port of Darwin to discuss equity funding for the Darwin Port Expansion.
The Australian Government has committed to an equity contribution of $50 million in the Budget for the development of Darwin Port, subject to the outcome of further work currently underway.
The recent Federal Budget focussed squarely on nation building to support jobs now and to deliver the critical economic infrastructure our nation needs for the recovery.
The Darwin Port Expansion will deliver new berthing capacity and new ship loading facilities enabling the port to accommodate large ships suited to the transportation of bulk resources and commodities.
It is a major export gateway for the Northern Territory, and for the nation, being the primary transport link from the Northern Territory to markets across the Asia-Pacific region.
Expanding the Port of Darwin is expected to double the capacity of existing facilities, reduce export costs, and improve the competitiveness of Australia's critical export gateways.
Construction is expected to commence in 2010-11 and additional berths could be operational from 2012-13.
The Federal Government's $50 million investment will be supplemented by investments from the Northern Territory Government and the private sector.
To further leverage its direct investment in Australia's international gateways, the government has committed to developing a National Ports Strategy in consultation with COAG and Infrastructure Australia by the end of 2010.
The National Port Strategy will adopt a strategic, nationally coordinated approach to the future planning and development of Australia's port and freight infrastructure.
These initiatives are part of the Federal Government's $22 billion infrastructure investment in the 2009-10 Budget, which includes transport, energy, broadband, education, and health care.
The Australian Government's nation-building initiatives for the Northern Territory also include $587 million through its Nation Building Program; $94.2 million over four years in health and hospital infrastructure; and $38.5 million over three years for education and research infrastructure in the Northern Territory.
21 May 2009