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




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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 2722 The problem is that when the money comes to the Northern Territory based on population it is then distributed by horizontal fiscal equalisation, which means councils get less than they probably should. I understand that money goes into regional councils but it affects other councils as well. Whilst we might be complaining about the government cutting the GSTif the minister is heading off with other people for a COAG meeting soon to discuss the GSTI would hope that the issue of better financial assistance for local government is raised. It has been raised year-in, year-out. It runs into a brick wall and there is very little you can do about it when the other states and councils have so much power. This highlights the problem we have when it comes to this whole debate. You only need three or four of those big states to say, We want to change. It does not matter who is in power, whether it is Labor or Liberal and it puts our GST at risk in this part of the world. I have heard speakers give some very good reasons why we need to retain it. I heard the minister for Culture talk about lack of communication. That is not just out bush; it is in my area. I get plenty of phone calls about the NBN, asking why it is so useless. People are promised the world and then they do not get the world. It is an area with promises that have not been achieved. I hear all about the schools, hospitals, clinics and services we provide through dialysis machinesthe work done in trying to get kids to school and giving them adequate education. Most of the funding, even if we say it is ours, comes from the Commonwealth. If that is cut then we have some issues. We cannot pretend that making a lot of noise in this parliament will make the rest of them agree with us. We get nearly five times the amount of money per head of population than other states. They look at thateven though the total amount does not look so big, they do not look at thatand say, You get five times more per head of population than we do. That is not fair. Member interjecting. Mr WOOD: I understand that but when it comes to politics and when it comes to populist politics, if I am a Western Australian member of parliament and I am arguing to keep my seat, I will say, Look at the Northern Territory. It gets more money than Western Australia and we produce all this iron ore and we do not get so much money. Member interjecting. Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Mr WOOD: It comes down to politics. All I am saying isit is something I have said here many times before we have to work hard, as a Territory, to improve our economy and to stand up on our fe et. It might take a long time; it might include gas; it might include trying to get tourists here in the off-season; it might be working to improve our road network so people do not run away in September and empty the local caravan park, as they have in Howard Springs. Come September, there are about two caravans in Howard Springs Holiday Park, maybe a few permanents. They disappear because it is hot and they think they will never get back home when the rain has started. We need to work harder on doing a lot of those things. I thank the minister for bringing forward the motion. I am happy to support it. I will not necessarily support all the jibes from one side to the other because I think that is part of the party politics of this issue. The issue of the GST is more important than the party politics that sometimes goes into this debate. That party politics is sometimes the reason we are pushed to a point where we have to stand up for ourselves. Thank you, Treasurer. I support the motion. Mr GUNNER (Chief Minister): Mr Deputy Speaker, the children of Borroloola and the children of Geelong deserve to have an equal opportunity to gain the same education services as everyone else. The children of Borroloola deserve more than a reasonable chance to gain education. The women of Yuendumu and the women of Newcastle deserve an equal chance of gaining basic health services during a pregnancy. The women of Yuendumu deserve more than a reasonable chance of gaining that same service standard.