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 2705 every step of the way to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage across the country, particularly i n the Northern Territory. If we are just talking about remote housing, we have more than half the need of the rest of the nation in terms of addressing that disadvantage. Through debate in this House we know how important housing is to supporting Closing the Gap targets and improving all aspects of family life and prosperity into the future. I call on Senator Scullion to use the opportunity and power that he has. You are representing your home turf; you are wearing our jersey. Make sure you stand front and centre in the Northern Territory and we will support you for that. This is a motion that every member of this House should get behind. The Australian Government is once again brushing aside the needs and concerns of Territorians and putting our share of GST at risk. We have already faced a $2bn GST cut. I was disappointed to see the lacklustre response from Canberra supporters on the opposite side of the House. They had a little bit of a fight in them when the news first landed, but that has quickly changed. On this side of the House we are sticking up for the Territory, as we always do and always will. Our Treasurer made some very difficult choices in cutting spending strategically and targeting spending on economic stimulus. It was the toughest Territory budget in many years, and it resonated from a hangover from the previous four years of chaos under the CLP administration. Now we are seeing an attack on GST in the Northern Territory from their Canberra mates. Despite this budget being tough, it was well received. It has gained praise from industry groups. There was one lone voice who spoke out against it; that was the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory. The Treasurer delivered a budget to protect Territory jobs and soften the blow on the economy. I am proud of the Treasurer and the team on this side, and I shudder to think how those opposite might have handled it. The Australian Government is changing the very principle of GST distribution. This is another attack on the Territory from Canberra and this time the members oppos ite must stand with us. The Productivity Commission released a report last week which advocates for changing the system for treating all Australians equally. The report recommends changing the wording of horizontal fiscal equalisation from equal to reasonable. This simple change would have the immediate effect of reducing the targeted quality of services and infrastructure for all Territorians. This wording changes the aspirational target for which we would be funded from being equal to our wealthier counterparts interstate to thatll do. Well, that will not do. Today the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released its Australias welfare 2017 report, which is framed around welfare in its broadest context. This report is underpinned by the concept that a persons wellbeing results from many interrelated individual, societal and environmental factors. Australias welfare 2017 presents reliable and detailed information on population factors that influence the demand for services, welfare spending and other factors. It looks at welfare with respect to various population groups including children and youth, seniors and people with a disability. A chapter of the report is dedicated to the welfare of Indigenous Australians. Some key points in this report related to the Northern Territory, including Aboriginality and overcrowding outcomes. The Northern Territory has the highest proportion of Aboriginal Australians in the country at 30%. In other jurisdictions Aboriginal people make up 1% to 4% of the population. Across states and territories the rate of overcrowding was highest in the Northern Territory, with 53% of Aboriginal Territorians living in overcrowded conditions. The rate of overcrowding in the Northern Territory was twice as high as the next highest rate, being WA at 25%. We all know this; maybe we know it too well. The fact does not hit as hard as it used to, but think about it again; 53% of Aboriginal Territorians are living in overcrowded conditions. After 10 years and $1.7bn spent on remote housing, 53% of Aboriginal Territorians still live in overcrowded homes. When you understand that the Australia Governments contribution to this program is nearly equal to the reduction in the Territorys GST, you begin to understand why we are in this situation. Within the Northern Territory the rate of overcrowding is highest in very remote areas, where two -thirds, 67%, of Aboriginal Australians are living in overcrowded conditions, compared with 31% in non -remote areas. The