Territory Stories

Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017



Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2695 Interestingly, the Northern Territory Governments submission to the HFE review, when it finally did one, spoke of creating silly and superfluous positions in Canberra. This government is more interested in creating jobs in Canberra than in the Territory. Where are the 14 000 jobs the Chief Minister promised to create before the last election? The HFE professional examinerthe Northern Territory Governments submission on page 51 stated that proposed alternatives to the current HFE system would result in more complexity and less administrative efficiency, instead proposing that a HFE advocate explain the intent of equalisation and the distribution methodology to the public in simple terms. The government has also failed to reply formally to the NSW submissionsmack down of the Northern Territory Government results in the area of Indigenous disadvantage. I quote from page 216 of the submission: Participants have raised several accountability concerns with the HFE system more specifically. One concerndiscussed in chapter threeis that a lack of direct accountability for the spending of GST payments means that some States do not deliver services to the national average level, despite being provided the fiscal capacity to do so. For example, the Northern Territorys very high GST relativity is driven by its high proportion of Indigenous and remote residents, yet critics have argued that its GST payments are not spent on improving outcomes for Indigenous people. (NSW Government, sub. 52, p. 9). There are situations in which the NT would win under the proposed reforms, and we need to lobby for these. On page 242, under the heading Expenses and Revenue-only Equalisation: Expense-only equalisation removes all distribution of GST payments associated with differences in States revenue raising capacities along with receipts of other Commonwealth payments. States vary significantly in their revenue raising capacity, and so this approach leads to increased payments for States with strong revenue raising capacities that also have high service delivery costs (which continue to be equalised under this approach). For example, Western Australias GST payments would increase by $2480 per capita, while the Northern Territory would receive an increase of $1380 per capita. That is explained in Table C5. What would Bill Shorten do? We did not hear his name from the Treasurer. There are major economic challenges ahead, and that is why action is needed now more than ever. Action, not reviews or reports simply put more red tape out. Territorians need to be heard. The Productivity Commission is not holding any public consultation on the draft report on the changes to HFE in the NT. We have the most to lose of any state or territory. There must be public hearings on the draft report. I have written to the Productivity Commission, urging it to reconsider its schedule and commit to holding further public hearings on the draft report in the Northern Territory. Major structural fragilities in the Northern Territory economyI am concerned about the overall reliance of the Northern Territory economy on construction. I highlight the sectoral contribution to Territory GSP found in the budget paper economic overview. Chart 8.1 of Budget 201718, Budget Paper No 2, shows a 19.3% of GSP directly attributable to construction. What plan does the government have to diversify the economy, reduce the importance of any sector and hence reduce the likelihood of prolonged downturn? When will this gun-shy government start to act like a government? When will it stop blaming everyone else and start taking responsibility for its actions? Territorians deserve strong leadership and a clear economic narrative. We do not support any change to the methodology used in the GST calculations. This goes further than simply going to the oppos ition and the Independents in this Chamber. It means going to the opposition and the Independents federally and to their counterparts in other states. That is why I amended the motion and that is the motion we will be supporting. Ms LAWLER (Education): Mr Deputy Speaker, it is all very well to call on our opposition and the federal opposition, but we need to make sure Scott Morrison, the federal Treasurer, is there because he is the person making the decision. I have had plenty of conversations with Tanya Plibersek and she has made