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 notwithstanding what the Grants Commission says, we do not believe that we have the capacity to make money out of trading enterprises. Another example is the fire service levy. The modest $3.5m estimated to be raised from that levy, which will by no means recover costs, could be compared with another course that we could have taken - land tax. Every state and territory in Australia, except the Northern Territory and the ACT, charges a land tax and they have done so for many years. That is a significant source of tax revenue to the states. I recall that, each year since self-government, when Cabinet has assessed the Territorys revenue options, we have refused persistently to introduce a land tax. The 2 taxes that we considered introducing this year were a land tax and a fire service levy. The latter exists everywhere in Australia except in the ACT where the people contribute towards the cost of fire services in a direct way. Until now, we have managed to avoid bringing both of those taxes on to our books. In a way, it could be said that it is a little sad that, after 17 years of self-government, we have picked up one of those taxes. I hope that we do not pick up the second for many years to come. The new levy on cask wine has raised some controversy in the community, but it is targeted genuinely at a group in our community - and, despite the belief of some, it is not exclusively an Aboriginal group - who create mayhem, distress, damage and expense, not to mention unsightly litter. Unfortunately, there is a fair degree of physical violence as well. This will contribute towards some answers to those problems. In relation to water and sewerage charges, the Grants Commission assessed that the Territory has the capacity to contribute a dividend of $3m from the overall operation of metropolitan water supply and sewerage services whereas those services in the Territory in fact require a subsidy of about $400 000. The modest increase in charges in this years budget is not expected to close that gap entirely, given the population and other trends. In any event, the Territorys water charges remain below the average of the states. It is another area where we have sought deliberately not to burden Territorians with even the average of what other Australians pay. Mrs Padgham-Purich: I pay 100% of the cost of production of my water, and so should everyone else. Mr PERRON: You are generating your own. On the basis of independent assessments by the Grants Commission, in 1993-94, the Northern Territory was about $40m short in its revenue-raising effort when compared to its capacity measured against the average of all the states and territories combined. This is a very similar figure to the expected rise in Territory revenue in 1995-96 from all sources, including normal growth and turnover and population growth. However, of this $40m, only $25m relates to increased rates of taxes. The remainder includes a component for charges and growth in demand, but both of these almost certainly will have matching increases in the states. In other words, whilst we have moved closer towards our revenue capacity, in bringing down their budgets, the states will step further away from us. Once the state budgets have been presented, it will be possible to see how far the Territory has gone in catching up to the average of the states in terms of relative revenue-raising effort. At this stage, our estimate is that the Territorys overall revenue effort will be approximately 95% of the average of the 3472