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 2700 The other key reasons why per capita government service delivery costs are so much more expensive in the Northern Territory than other jurisdictions is that more than 90% of the 70000 people living outside of the major population centres are Indigenous Territorians. The social and economic disadvantage of Indigenous Territorians across a range of economic and social indicators is very well known. What it means from a cost of service delivery perspective is that while service is disparate, our population base is expensive in itself. Costs are exacerbated when you are dealing with citizens who are not on a level social and economic playing field with other Territorians. The social and economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians have been highlighted by the national Closing the Gap on Indigenous disadvantage program. This program identifies target areas with different time frames. I quote from the Prime Ministers 2017 report: While all of these figures quoted are national figures, I think we can safely assume that the Northern Territory figures are in most cases worse. The target to halve the gap in child mortality by 2018 is not on track this year. The 2015 Indigenous child mortality rate is just outside the range for the target. The target to close the gap in life expectancy by 2031 is not on track based on data since the 2006 baseline. The target to halve the gap in employment by 2018 is not on track. While there has been an increase in the Indigenous employment rate since 1994, there has been a decline since 2008. In 2014-15, the Indigenous employment rate was 48.4%, compared with 72.6% for non-Indigenous Australians. Geography is an important factor in Indigenous employment in 2014-15, only 35.1 per cent of Indigenous people of working age in very remote areas were employed, compared with 57.5% of those living in major cities. These targets do not even touch other important indicators such as housing, overcrowding, and the high cost of constructing and maintaining houses in remote areas. I am proud of the work being undertaken on Room to Breathe by the Housing minister and all members of our Caucus, including their support and messages to the community. We want to sit down with the community and will continue to get the houses, rooms and accommodation they want. We will deliver that. These targets do not even touch other important indicators such as housing, overcrowding or the unacceptably high levels of Indigenous youth and adult incarceration. Indigenous Territor ians are the most highly incarcerated people in the world. Not only is this a socially unacceptable statistic, but it is bad economics. As the cost of incarcerating people is very high, progressive countries are trying to reduce the number of people incarcerated for social and economic reasons. We have a long way to go to reduce these gaps, so we need to do more, not less. I thank Minister Wakefield for her work in youth justice, and the rest of my colleagues, because this is a real issue we face. We will continuously face this if we keep window shopping and navel gazing, leaving it to other governments to deal with. The most inspirational woman I know, my mother, said to me, Dont talk about these things in 20 or 30 years time; you have a seat at the table, so do something now. Do not make it someone elses problems. Deal with it. As a new government, we have a plan. If it works, it works. I think it will work. We have really listened; we have the right minister in the job, the right Cabinet, the right elected members to change lives. If that means one life, it is a good outcome. But we want more than that. We want opportunities. No matter where you live or what your education and upbringing is, no matter who your mum or dad isyou have every opportunity as my boys, who live in a nice house in Rapid Creek, to someone living in a new house in Ramingining. Every opportunity should be given to everyone in the Northern Territory.