Debates Day 6 - Thursday 19 October 2017
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
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Thursday 19 October 2017 2706 Australian Government already measures overcrowding much more conservatively than we do, and if this change to the GST is adopted then I worry it will use it to say thatll do when it comes to remote housing. That will not do. The standard of services and infrastructure in the Territory cannot be allowed to suffer or all Territorians will be worse off. Senator Nigel Scullion has a report on his desk on the National Partnership on Remote Housing to be released. Their own numbers show that half of the countrys needs for remote housing is in the Northern Territory. This is not the time to be cutting funding, looking for excuses and directing money to the rich southern states. It is time for the CLP and Senator Nigel Scullion to step up. If adopted, the proposed changes to the HFE will not close the gap; it will make things worse. As Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, we cannot allow this to happen. Everyone in this Assembly has to stand together to fight for Territorians. That is what we are here for, and Territorians expect and deserve our support. Our federal colleagues on this side of the House stand with us, and Senator Nigel Scullion needs to get the message too. Is he with us, or is he against us with his mates in Canberra? Overcrowded housing can contribute to high levels of rheumatic heart disease, scabies and otitis media among children living in remote communities. These illnesses significantly undermine participation in school and long-term health and education outcomes. A reduction in GST would restrict our ability to deliver housing, education and health services. A reduction in GST harms children and hurts the Territory. Overcrowding puts a strain on families and relationships, leading to increased stress, drug and alcohol problems, poor mental health outcomes, and increased family and community violence. Sadly, in the Northern Territory, Aboriginal women make up 73% of all domestic violence victims. The Commonwealths Australian Early Development Census confirms that if a child is exposed to stresses, such as social and economic deprivation, which can result from overcrowding in the early stage of their life, it is probable that this will have a long-lasting and profoundly negative impact throughout their whole life. The Commonwealth have this evidence, but if they choose to reduce our GST or funding for remote housing then they are choosing to ignore this evidence. To address severe overcrowding in remote communities the Northern Territory has committed to tackle the housing deficit by investing $1.1bn over the next 10 years. However, the need is so significant that we cannot do this on our own. We need more help. We need the Commonwealth as our partner to build and grow housing and essential services infrastructure to develop thriving communities. Access to safe, secure, appropriate and affordable housing provides a fundamental component of individual, family and community wellbeing and prosperity. Housing provides the basis for good physical and mental health, participation in education and employment, safety, security and comfort. This is not new information. We need the Commonwealth officials to stand up and acknowledge this. People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness are often at their most vulnerable. Providing the right mix of support services at these critical times can improve long-term outcomes for individuals and the wider community. On census night in 2011 there were 730 homeless people per 10 000 persons in the Northern Territory, or 7% of the NT population. That is a significant number compared to the Australian average of 49 people per 10 000 persons, or less than 1% of the national population. Of the total number of homeless people counted in the NT 90% identified as Aboriginal. The NT homeless population is comprised of a significant proportion of people living in overcrowded and severely overcrowded dwellings, the majority of which are located in remote areas of the Northern Territory. A significant proportion, 52%, of the NT homeless population are aged under 25 years. Twenty-seven percent of all homeless persons counted on census night in 2011 were aged 12 or under. From 201112 to 201516 there has been a gradual increase of almost 25% in the number of people accessing specialist homelessness services across the Territorys urban centres. In 201516, 6116 Aboriginal people accessed specialist homelessness services, that is, 75% of specialist homelessness services clients. Children and young people comprise almost 50% of homelessness services clients. Family and domestic violence is the key driver of homelessness among this group. In the same year,
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