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 2727 It is critical to get every dollar we can for the future of the Northern Territory if we are serious about overcoming disadvantage, making the social changes we need to see, driving our economy forward and making sure the Northern Territory becomes a place that contributes even more to this nation. We have huge potential, but we have to get real. There is a huge disadvantage here as well, and to lose even more money out of the GST would have a devastating impact. We have seen what has been going on in Canberra. You can see it as clear as anything. Some of the issues the federal government is contending with, particularly the Prime Ministerand we can see that it has an agenda purely focused on trying to do what it can to retain power. When the next election comes around or whatever happens with a federal court case and so forthit is doing everything it can to ensure it stays in power. The federal government is very worried about Western Australia. It instigated a Productivity Commission report into HFE for a short-term political fix that could have a devastating long-term impact on the federation. If people really believe in this principle of a fair go, of equity for allto make sure all Australians have a fair level of service in this country, which is what makes this country so great. We cannot see HFE eroded in a way that makes sure a place like the Northern Territory is further disadvantaged whi le states with a high income earning capacitythe masses of population over very small places. Let us have a good look at the history; these places have been around for a lot longer than the Northern Territory. There are big gaps we are still trying to close in the Northern Territory. If we see HFE further eroded it will have a devastating impact on our finances going forward. We have to get every single cent we can for the Northern Territory if we are serious about closing those gaps on disadvantage and making sure we reach our full potential. There is work we must do there. We will not be supporting the amended motion. It is very important to send a clear and strong message to the federal government and the federal Treasurer, who has the capacity to make these changes and is the one who has instigated this process. We regularly advocate for the needs of the Northern Territory. I appreciate the work that has been done from the opposition in this space. I appreciated the words from the Member for Nelson about recognising the importance of HFE and the GST. We must do everything we can to hold this federal government to account to make sure it does not go for a short-term political fix but maintains the values and important principles that make this a good country. It is critical to do everything we can to hold the federal government to account and keep the pressure on it to do what is best for Territorians, because Territorians deserve nothing less. That is exactly what we will continue to do. When we go to Canberra we meet with as many federal ministers as we can. We also extend that to shadow Cabinets. We have a very constructive relationship in Canberra with the current government and the opposition. We continue to have those conversations because it is important to keep all members of Federal Parliament informed about the Northern Territory. We have experienced that if you do not stay at that door and keep them updated, sometimes they can become disconnected from the needs of the Northern Territory, which is why we regularly lobby them. That is why we welcome members of the opposition and the Independents doing their bit too. The more of us doing our bit in Canberra to put our case forward, the better. That is exactly what this motion is about. It is about making sure there is no room for misinterpretation from that Commonwealth Government. We want the federal Treasurer to make a responsible decision for the future of HFE and the Northern Territory. We cannot let him off the hook. We need every cent coming into the Northern Territory. It is the right thing to do. We have some very strong competition and must do everything we can to ensure we do not see further changes to the GST, which would have a negative impact on the Territorys finances going forward. We have already experienced too much through the last relativity change. That was huge. We are doing our bit when it comes to own source revenue raising, but the stark reality is we simply do not have the population the big east coast states have. We do not have some of those economies of scale. We have huge disadvantage and vast land masses, which makes remote service and infrastructure delivery all the more challenging. Losing any more GST will not make tackling that very critical task any easier. As a parliament, we must work together on this. We must do everything we can to get the best deal going forward in the interest of Territorians. This is a risk at the moment. There is no doubt that the federal government has an appetite to change this and the smaller jurisdictions will be the ones that suffer. The
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