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




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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 Operational costs are budgeted to decrease by 8% in real terms, and we wonder what is planned there. Water and sewerage charges are to increase and that is not much comfort for people in remote areas such as Borroloola. I will continue to carp about this until Borroloola has a decent sewerage system. You flush at your peril in Borroloola during the wet season and, until that situation is remedied, the member with responsibility for the area will continue to harp on it. Returning to the area of mines and energy, there is really little change from last year, but there are to be cuts in the corporate management sector to accommodate an increase in the geological database work. Certainly, that is very much welcomed by the opposition and by the industry that relies heavily on those services which were log jammed as a result of the cuts that occurred during the ERC. The government has had to change its tune on that, and rightly so. Administrative services in the Department of Mines and Energy loses nearly $lm , with half of that coming from computing services. We wonder whether that represents a transfer of responsibility from the department. Perhaps the minister will explain why there is a large cut in that area. The Regulation Program has been cut, and I would like to see some more details on that. It is not wise to cut costs in this regard if it means reducing effort in the inspection and regulation field. While the industry has become increasingly self-regulating and is very responsible environmentally and generally in terms of safety, we have to ensure that the government acts appropriately for the sake of workers and the environment. I visited Nabalco recently. Once the leakage of contaminants into the ocean was discovered, that company made enormous efforts to save the environment, but it is something for which the government, as a regulating body, must bear some responsibility. One of the governments few tasks in respect of mines and energy is to monitor safety and environmental protection. Cuts in that aspect of the departments role would not be welcomed by the wider community. There seems to be considerable conflict about what is happening in relation to correctional services. This morning, the minister answered some questions as to what is happening at Gunn Point and with the Alice Springs Prison. The allocation for Alice Springs Prison is up by a further $lm in this budget. We wonder whether or not the prison is coming in on budget. We have heard rumours that the budget has been overspent. Certainly, there has been a degree of rebuilding and several changes to the plan of that project. What is to happen with Gunn Point? It appears fairly clear now that the federal government will not take up the offer to take on Gunn Point. The minister told me recently that he was interested in the concept - and he mentioned it this morning - of moving the prison farm to Berrimah. It would be interesting to know how the member for Brennan and his constituents feel about that proposal. Mrs Padgham-Purich: It will be interesting to hear what the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries thinks. Mrs HICKEY: That is right. I wonder whether the minister has consulted with that department about the plan he has in mind. We note that 3 more staff are to be removed from Wildman River. Is that facility to be closed? Will we see all juvenile offenders held at the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre? The Leader of the Opposition referred recently to a disgraceful episode at the Alice Springs 3477