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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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 they have smoke detectors installed in their homes, thereby reducing the risk of the house being destroyed. About 18 months to 2 years ago, the matter of installation of smoke detectors in new houses was raised. The Minister for Lands, Housing and Local Government said that the government did not want to make people put smoke detectors costing $10 each in their new houses. He would not support a move to have the same requirement that is imposed in the states - the installation of smoke detectors in new houses - because that would add about $50 to the total price of building a house. The minister would not support a move to have that requirement included in the Building Code. Has the Housing Commission had smoke detectors fitted in its properties? For the cost of one years fire levy payment, each Housing Commission house could be fitted with smoke detectors. I believe that would be a much more sensible and cost-effective way of reducing the costs of operating the fire service. Let us look at preventive strategies rather than the tax grab the Treasurer wants. The Treasurer wanted to raise a few million dollars more. He had hit the drinkers, the smokers, the car owners, the home owners and the users of water and sewerage services. Where could he raise an additional few million dollars? Why not charge people for the fire service? Mr Coulter: As is done in every other jurisdiction in Australia. Mr BAILEY: Every state in Australia has building laws that require smoke detectors to be installed when houses are constructed. That seems to be a sensible requirement. The minister responsible for the Housing Commission should look at putting smoke detectors in Housing Commission houses. With this budget, in one fell swoop, this government will add $500 to $1000 to every households bill this year. Other governments may have some of these taxes and charges in place. They may even have most of them in place, but they have introduced them gradually. They did not front up in 1995, after an election, and demand that the people pay for the governments incompetence and its failure to impose reasonable taxes gradually over a period. The reason was that it wanted to maintain its popularity in the lead-up to an election. That is what this government has done. It has broken its promises and it has shown no consideration for the people. I am happy for the minister responsible for the fire services to correct me, but most people to whom I have spoken seem to believe that most fire services are involved in controlling bushfires, responding to calls in large buildings which have fire protection devices connected to a central system, and dealing with road accidents involving petrol spills. People believe that house fires represent probably a small percentage only of the cost of operating a fire service. Will owners of rural properties or high-rise buildings be charged for fire services? Will the owners of motor vehicles involved in accidents where petrol is spilt be charged for the call-out? Are the people who have invested their money in the Territory and who have bought property the ones who will be penalised by this decision? The levy may not share the cost across the users, but rather target the easy ones. It is easy to add a levy of that kind to peoples rates, but that penalises those people who have made a commitment to the Territory by investing in their own homes. Will the levy be added to the rent of people living in Housing Commission houses? 3558