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 In fact, it included a cut in the tax on petrol. The debt strategy and the costings were endorsed by the conservative Institute of Public Affairs. Mr Perron: But not by the electorate. Mrs HICKEY: In this budget, the CLP has presented nothing. It fudged through the election on a fraudulent set of uncosted promises. There was no mention in the CLP election campaign of a savage increase in family taxation or of a 20% cut to capital works. This is a budget that gives, with the one hand, much-needed and long overdue additional funds for Aboriginal health, and then rips off essential services with the other. I thought that, at long last, this government had caught up with the fact that health cannot be treated in isolation and that a holistic approach needs to be taken to community improvement and development, and that includes housing, health, power and water, communications and education. However, this budget shakes extra dollars at health and steals them away in other areas and, while it may appease its critics nationally and internationally, it will not necessarily do much for people in remote areas. The only new tax is a regressive one - a fire service levy. It is unclear how this is to work. As we heard this morning, the Treasurer does not have any clear idea how the levy will be assessed. He was unable to say whether pensioners would receive a concession or how the levy would apply to Housing Commission properties. Like much in this budget, it has not been thought through properly. An area of great concern to the public sector is the fact that only 2% will be available for wage movements in that area over the next 12 months and nothing will be available to meet the police log of claims. Turning specifically to areas of my shadow responsibility in relation to power and water, overall there is an 8% cut in operating costs. There is an increase in the cost of water that is in direct conflict with CLP election promises to build a new competitive edge for the Northern Territory through access to cheap water. I wonder how one builds a new competitive edge by increasing water prices by 8%. With regard to electricity, while these charges remain fairly static, the government should really do what the ALP advocated and develop a plan for a reduction in power costs over the next 5 years. Electricity is a huge cost to Territory families, given our climate. In relation to PAWA: Aboriginal Essential Services, the budget provides for an overall cut of 6% in real per capita terms. What is the reason for this? The government is increasing its effort in the health area, but is taking it out in the bush areas where it is desperately needed. Capital expenditure in those areas is down by $1.5m. What is the reason for that? Why is this vital area being cut? In relation to water resources, there is a real cut of about 2%. We need to look also at the staffing levels at the Power and Water Authority. There is a concern that there are some cuts in the authority and obviously we will be asking specific questions about those in the committee stage. There is a significant increase in staff in the Corporate Services Activity in PAWA: Commercial Services, but there is a cut in staff in the Utilities Activity, and a large decrease of 36 staff in the Power - Commercial Program. That might be explained in part by reshuffling to other sections, but it seems hardly likely that it could all result from that. People in that area must ask if that has any implications for job security in the Power and Water Authority. 3476