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 Implementation of the major appliance program will improve public safety and will boost the confidence of firefighters in their ability to respond effectively to emergencies. Police computer systems will be upgraded in a further 13 designated remote communities across the Northern Territory. This will permit direct access to important operational information thus improving the efficiency and safety of our police and our communities. In addition to the existing HF network, communications are being expanded by greater utilisation of UHF radios in selected remote locations across the Territory. The series of remote area locations is being expanded gradually throughout the Territory. This will ensure the tri-service has a common and effective communications network. Response times to emergencies and coordination at incidents will be greatly improved as a result. This initiative will also result in improvement in the safety of police officers while they are on duty. In closing, let me say that both portfolios that I have spoken about today are not only meeting the challenges of todays economic and business climate but are looking to the future to ensure they remain pro-active in their approach to their specific responsibilities and goals. I commend the budget to honourable members. Mr HATTON (Lands, Housing and Local Government): Mr Speaker, my portfolios encompass the Department of Lands, Housing and Local Government, the Northern Territory Housing Commission, the Office of Aboriginal Development and the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority. While each body has its own budget, the administrative functions of the Housing Commission are undertaken on its behalf by the staff of the department. The department also provides support services to the Office of Aboriginal Development. First, I would like to deal briefly with the budgetary provisions for the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority. Honourable members will note that there is a small increase of $128 000 in the budget this year to meet some of the emerging costs of the continuing services provided by the authority, but of more significance is the fact that the operating trust account within the authority provides some funding and the authority will be moving towards a user pays principle in respect of the non-statutory consultancy-type services that are being carried out by it. For example, very expensive consultations and assistance were provided to the McArthur River Mine last year to deal with many of the sacred site issues associated with that project. This involved full-time work for a senior officer over several months for basically no money. The intention is that, in future, such services will be paid for. That will mean that the authority will be in a position, through the trust account, to engage consultants on a longer-term contract with some cost benefit rather than paying casual fees for consultants to carry out anthropological work. In addition, it will provide the authority with some funding capacity to engage data research assistants and CAD operators to update the computerisation of much of the sacred sites data that is within the system. There is something like 15 years of accumulated research and data, much of which needs to be put on computer. The ability to put that into the information technology system will improve significantly the efficiency and the responsiveness of the authority to requests for such things as site clearances, and will increase the accuracy of the information. That will increase the efficiency of the authority to the advantage of the community at large, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal. The total expenditure budget allocation to the Department of Lands, Housing and Local Government and the Housing Commission for 1995-96 is $236.94m. I will comment first on 3489