MIL-OSI Australia: Transcript – Media conference – Tiger Brennan Drive Overpass, Darwin

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Source: Australian Ministers 1

LUKE GOSLING: Morning, everyone, and thanks for coming down to Tiger Brennan, to the overpass here, on a beautiful wet season morning.

I’m Luke Gosling, the Federal Member for Solomon, so representing Darwin and Palmerston, and this piece of infrastructure is so important for Darwin and Palmerston, but for the whole territory as well.

I’m here with my federal colleague, Catherine King, who’s the Federal Minister who’s been working with the NT Government, Chief Minister Eva Lawler, but also the NT Minister for Infrastructure, Joel Bowden, to work together to deliver this project.

And it’s fantastic to see the progress that’s happened here at Berrimah Road with the overpass.

We all know well the very many reasons, from safety through to the economic reasons, that this is such an important piece of infrastructure.

It’s great to see the progress that’s being made here and we really look forward to seeing the project get finished off throughout this year. 

I’ll hand over to my federal colleague Catherine King now.

It’s fantastic to have Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the whole cabinet here in Darwin for a meeting today, and we really appreciate your support, Catherine. 

CATHERINE KING: Thanks very much. I’m Catherine King. I’m the Federal Minister for Infrastructure.

It’s terrific to be here with my good friend and colleague Luke Gosling, but, of course, Eva Lawler as Chief Minister, again, a good friend of mine having worked with her in the infrastructure portfolio previously, and Joel Bowden.

And I think this is probably our first presser together, as well, Joel, but it’s lovely to be here as well. 

Well, when we were here I think it was just almost over a year ago in January, there were a lot of earthworks happening, but you can just see the enormous project.

Over 60 per cent complete, this important Tiger Brennan Drive overpass here, to really improve safety at this intersection. 

We know that this will create a 75 per cent improvement in safety outcomes for the many, many Northern Territorians who travel on this road every single day.

This is an important connection between, of course, the airport and the wharf, but really making sure people can get to work safely.

This is a $165 million joint project and it is this sort of partnership we’re delivering across the Northern Territory, not only building the infrastructure here in Darwin itself, but significant investments right the way across the territory, the roads that are really important to connect local communities like past Santa Teresa and also certainly the Stuart Highway and clearly the port infrastructure projects.

So, I’m delighted to be here today. 

Over 700 people involved in the construction of this project, good for local jobs, good for the economy of the Northern Territory, and it’s great to see the two Labor governments delivering important infrastructure projects here in this region. Thanks. 

EVA LAWLER: So, a $165 million project, but a much-needed project for the people of Palmerston and the rural area who keep coming to this road every single day.

I travel this road most days and have done for so on for a very long time.

We will be able to see one lane open very soon. So, we’ll do that.

Get one lane open, get the second lane open and then the work will be completed around the exits and the on-ramps for East Arm, if you’re coming from East Arm.

We know East Arm is only going to get busier and busier with the fuel tanks there, with the ship links as well. So, this will be a great asset.

It will be able to have just have that constant flow of traffic between Darwin, Palmerston and the rural area. So, a $165 million joint project with the Federal Government. 

That’s what you get when you’ve got Labor in Canberra and you have got Labor in the Northern Territory. You get great projects like this where we work together. 

JOEL BOWDEN: Joel Bowden, Infrastructure Minister. I want to say a big thank you to our Federal Minister Catherine King for being here today, the Chief Minister, who’s handed over the infrastructure [indistinct] and Luke Gosling.

Labor working with Labor from Canberra to Darwin is a really, really good fit, but this is safer and smoother for 20,000 transit vehicles that use this corridor every day.

So, 20,000 vehicles going through here every day, it will be safer. As we know, there’s been a couple of accidents here, but it will be smoother.

It will be a smooth transition from Palmerston to Darwin, from Darwin to Palmerston. That’s what we want on our roads: safety and a smooth uninterrupted bit of traffic.

Thank you very much again to the federal government for funding this $165 million, but that is jobs, jobs and more jobs.

As Matt said this morning, I’m not sure if he’s down here at the moment, but second-year trainee, learning the trade on the job, getting taught the tools of the trade on the job, and this is what the government is also about – building those skills into the future because there’s going to be another project in the pipeline.

We’ve got lots of projects coming. Thank you to Minister King, thank you to Eva Lawler, and Luke Gosling for what is a really good project for the Northern Territory.

JOURNALIST: Just for Eva. This is not related, obviously. We’ve got NAPLAN testing in the Northern Territory. What – sorry. 

EVA LAWLER: I can just do a few lines on that.

JOURNALIST: That would be great. 

EVA LAWLER: Yes, it’s NAPLAN time, which is an important time on the school calendar. We need to make sure that families are getting their kids to bed early, that kids are having a good night’s sleep.

But NAPLAN is just a snapshot of a child’s education over those periods of time.

So, [indistinct] assessments that they undertake around children, so they do that diagnostic testing throughout the year, but NAPLAN provides that information around year 3, year 5, year 7 and year 9 students.

It is great to see it happening earlier in the year so we get NAPLAN done earlier.

Schools and teachers can then use that information; the information goes to parents and schools so teachers can use that information then to design their teaching/learning programs for the rest of the year.

JOURNALIST: Do you think it’s putting undue stress on students running NAPLAN testing in the territory [indistinct]?

EVA LAWLER: Schools handle it very well and families handle it very well. So, schools make sure that they take the least – that they have the least stress around NAPLAN.

So, schools make sure that it’s done in a comfortable way in schools, but the reality is NAPLAN has been around probably for 20, 25 years now. It’s part of the education horizon.

It does provide useful information to the system, to the Federal Government, but also to families as well who want to know how their child is going in comparison to kids across Australia.

JOURNALIST: And given the large disparity in results between the Northern Territory and other states, do you think it’s the most appropriate metric for the territory? 

EVA LAWLER: When we see with our urban schools, our result are on par, but when you have children with English as a second, third or fourth language, we then see that discrepancy between the children interstate and our children in the Northern Territory.

So, yes, it is always taken with a bit of a grain of salt around our remote schools and our remote schools, we have lots of other things, other ways to assist them.

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