Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




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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questions about the cost of their promises. We were to be told in the fullness of time. It was not for opposition members to ask whether the government intended actually to fund its election promises, or how much they would cost. The Treasurer speaks of the federal government providing so many millions of dollars for programs such as the health program, and then complains that we do not know exactly the dollar breakdown of funding to the Territory. Last year, his government could not answer a single question on how it would fund its election promises. Virtually none of those promises was covered in the entire debate on the Appropriation Bill, neither the funding for police, nor how much was available for more staff and where they would go - nothing. They totally fudged the numbers. In his speech, the Treasurer said that there will be no deviation from the core fiscal strategies, no mini-budget, no ERC process and no cuts in public sector staffing. However, we saw the reduction in spending with the public service - the mini-budget before Christmas, when departments were told they were blowing their budgets. Instead of having an ERC, instead of going in with a razor gang, as it did last time, this time the governments idea is to walk in with the tax collectors. It will not try to cut some costs, rather it will raise a great deal more money. Mr Coulter: Government spending did not rise above inflation. That was one of the core fiscal strategies. Mr BAILEY: As the Leader of the Opposition said, the average man in the street will be hit. Water and sewerage charges are up by some 10%. Stamp duty on motor vehicle purchases is up 50%. Tobacco fees are up 25% and fuel excise is up 16% - and there is a brand new tax in the form of a fire service levy. If the federal government said it would introduce a fire service levy across Australia, I am sure the honourable member for Palmerston would say: How will it raise this? How much will it cost individual Territorians? What is the basis for it? He would demand that information from the federal government. What did we hear from him? He knows how much he wants to raise through the levy but he has not actually worked out how he will get it or who will pay it. Those are the types of matters I would expect to have been determined when the budget was drafted. The Treasurer wants to take $3.5m to $5m from Territory people who own their own homes and flats. We expect him to explain exactly how much it will cost people. He said it would cost $29 per man, woman and child. Basically, he divided the $3.5m by the number of people in the Territory and came up with what looked like a reasonable figure. We asked him whether that meant that it would cost $130 per household. He said that it would not cost that much. However, when we asked how much it would cost, he had no idea. He said that people in places where there is no fire service are not likely to pay. Is the Housing Commission to pay the same amount on all of its properties as the home owners will be required to pay? Or will the tenant in the Housing Commission house be required to pay? I have been talking to quite a number of people around Darwin since we heard about the introduction of the fire service levy. People have asked whether they will obtain a rebate if DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 3557