Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995
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
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 I believe the Treasurers remarks on his revenue-raising items will create the most controversy in the community because they apply to everyday items, things that people have definite knowledge of and definite ideas about. Departmental expenditure, capital investment and increased or decreased budgets have less significance to the ordinary person in the street than revenue items which the Treasurer proposes to increase. I have no philosophical argument with the charges for water and sewerage increasing, and that is for 2 reasons. One could be said to be a selfish reason on behalf of many of my constituents. As I have said many times, whilst some of my constituents are on town water, most use bore water and they pay 100% of the cost of production of that water whereas the people who take town water pay only about 60% of the cost of the production of that water. A second point in relation to increasing the cost of water is that people will pay more attention to how they use it, particularly people in the towns. In general, town people tend to be more extravagant with their use of water. Water is a finite resource, and I think any person who has regard for the environment will agree that our use of water has to be considered very carefully as the years go by. Coupled with the increased charges for water, we need also to consider the use of what is termed in some circles as grey water. I am talking about reusing for garden purposes water that has been used once already in the household - laundry water, water from the kitchen sink and shower and bath water. The Department of Health and Community Services has some outmoded and stupid idea that this water would be unhealthy to use on the garden. Its officers are wringing their hands in an attempt to form a policy on it whilst sensible people, especially those in the rural areas, are already advancing the cause of good environmental care and using grey water on our gardens, regardless of what the Department of Health and Community Services says. It is unfortunate for everybody that the licence fees for the sellers of petroleum are to be increased because, when those fees are raised, petrol prices will increase as well. Everybody uses a vehicle of some kind in the Northern Territory - horses have not been used for a number of years for public or private transport - and that increase will hit people hard. However, the item that has created the most controversy so far is the fire service levy. Once again, it is a levy that is in place in the states and the proposal has been tossed around here from time to time. I must say that I probably know rather more about fire services than does the member for Wanguri. Whilst I will not be happy to pay the levy, I recognise that the time had to come when we would have to pay it. What really concerns me is how the dickens it is to be reckoned. I do not know about the town areas, but I have a good number of questions to ask the Treasurer on this. Is it to be introduced only on houses in municipal councils? Who is to collect it? If the local council is to collect it, will it receive a collection fee? Will it pay the money into Consolidated Revenue, or will it be paid to the fire services? If the councils do not want or wish to collect this fee, will they be strong-armed into collecting it anyway? I can see major problems if the Litchfield Shire Council is required to collect this levy because we have 2 fire services in the Litchfield Shire. There is the NT Fire Service, which responds to calls as far south as the Elizabeth River, and its volunteer brigades which work in the Shire of Litchfield down to Elizabeth River. In general, from Elizabeth River out, the Bushfires Council operates with its volunteer brigades. If the Litchfield Shire Council collects this fire service levy, will it collect it on behalf of the NT Fire Service and the Bushfires 3569
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