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 2707 4077 people were unable to be assisted by specialist homelessness services. This is the equivalent of 14 requests for support per day not being met. This evidence clearly demonstrates that we need to do more to protect the most vulnerable in our community. A tripartite approach is required to make the gains needed to close the gap on the high levels of disadvantage experienced by residents in remote Aboriginal communities. Togetherand that means side by sidethe Australian and Northern Territory Governments and Aboriginal communities need to partner to invest in and develop place-based responsive solutions. This will ensure Aboriginal people in remote communities have improved housing options that support non -shelter outcomes across health, early childhood development, child and family safety, education, employment and justice. Delivering housing services which improve the conditions of remote housing is an effective and highly costefficient means of improving Aboriginal health outcomes. Benefits flow to other areas of society and the economy in the form of reduced health system costs, increased productivity and higher participation in employment. There is evidence for the early intervention and the prevention approach of investing in a housing -first approach to address homelessness and overcrowding which results in long-term savings to all portfolio sectors. It is not just the investment dollars but also the impact that safe, secure, healthy, accessible and affordable housing has on personal wellbeing, and the opportunities and choices people can make across the course of their life. We talk about this often in the Territory but Commonwealth funding makes up 70% of the Territorys revenue. Any changes to this can have a drastic, negative effect on our ability to deliver all kinds of services. Changes in the way the Commonwealth provides funding affects Territorians to a much greater extent than it does in any other jurisdiction. We know that it costs more to deliver the same service in the Territory than it does in other places. We have many small, geographically isolated populations, a huge road network and weather factors that make access and delivery of services difficult in many places. The Territorys GST relativity takes these factors into account; however, this approach is under attack. The Territory has higher needs than other states. This is why our GST revenue is higher and must remain higher. The Northern Territory uses GST and other Commonwealth funds to provide critical government services in the Northern Territory such as housing, education, health, infrastructure and roads. We have already had to deal with the chaotic environment left to us from an outgoing government and a $2bn cut to GST. Now have to stand and fight against this next attack. In a purely political exercise, aimed at winning interstate votes, the CLPs federal mates in Canberra have commenced an inquiry into horizontal fiscal equalisation. HFE is there so that all Australians get equal access to services no matter where they live. Now this is under attack. This inquiry is politically motivated. In the Northern Territory we reject it in the strongest terms. This government is determined to continue to support and retain horizontal fiscal equalisation. The important part of my closing remarks relates to the Honourable Nigel Scullion, our senator in Canberra who has a seat at the Cabinet table. I am proud to hear the senator speaking in some public forums recently, focusing on the policy parameters of the Michael Gunner Labor government, which is using an infrastructure investment to create jobs and build local capacity. He is determined now to make a difference. We have seen the mistakes of the past. This policy perspective is designed to engage with good consultation based on local decision-making, and then create local capacity to create local economies. When we have regional and remote Indigenous Territorians participating in every layer of the housing sectormanaging tenancies, training for employment, gaining skills for good cyclical repairs and maintenance programs, engaging in mid-level Room to Breathe customisation, and then going on as accredited and qualified tradespeople to be building new homesthen we have an economy in the bush like never before. Then we will have an economy that shows returns to Canberra in improvements in health, education, wellbeing and social justice, and less of a need for that important and finite taxpayer revenue. We will be able to show that we are building the Northern Territory over the next 10 years, reaching Closing the Gap targets