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
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 municipal councils, and associations eligible for funding, they will receive $3.3m in financial assistance grants from the Commonwealth, and $4.3m for roads. All such grants are allocated under the guidance and determination of the Northern Territory Grants Commission consistent with the principles of horizontal fiscal equalisation. It is incumbent on me to mention that the Commonwealth, in determining the Territorys share of the national pool of local government funds, does not abide by the same rules of equity. In the Territory, we receive only a per capita allocation which falls far short of actual needs. By way of example, if the 1990 Commonwealth/State Grants Commission Report had been implemented, Northern Territory local governments would have received an allocation from the federal government of $31m instead of the $6.7m they received by way of assistance in federal financial grants in that year. This iniquitous deficiency in funding, and therefore the severely limited capacity of particularly our remote area councils, has been recognised by all inquiries into the matter, including consultant studies sponsored by the Territory and the Commonwealth and by the Commonwealth Grants Commission in 1991. In this budget, as in past years, the Territory will allocate an amount of $12.lm to a range of operations - capital and special purpose grants - to other than community government or municipal councils. This is in recognition of the inbuilt inequities in the derivation of Commonwealth grants to the Territory and of the reality of limited revenue-raising powers of most associations and councils. In the end, it is the Northern Territory's budget commitments to funding local government that provide for the continued extension of local government to our constituents. To this end, the government will provide also $ 1.24m for establishment grants for new community government councils. This will admit another 4 or 5 entrants to the Territorys unique and effective form of local government administration. Of the total of 63 eligible local governing bodies, a total of some 30 community governments are expected to be in evidence by the end of the 1995-96 financial period. The objective of efficient, accountable administration at the third sphere of government is being achieved progressively by this governments ongoing commitment. The departments Local Government Division is undertaking the upgrading and refining of the processes of financial review of community government councils and associations which receive local government funding. A number of measures have been adopted to assist the financial development of councils and associations. These include the development and computerisation of check lists and review packages within the department, at a cost of $50 000, and an increase in field activity in visiting councils and associations to provide assistance on financial matters. The ultimate aim of this increased financial review activity is to achieve better and more efficient delivery of services to community members through improved financial accountability and reporting. This government has committed $200 000 on a dollar-for-dollar basis with the Darwin City Council for redevelopment of the Gardens Amphitheatre, a facility enjoyed by the wider community. Consistent with the governments commitment to conservation and beautification, municipal councils will again receive $500 000 in greening subsidies for the establishment of new parks and reserves, and for the implementation of water conservation measures in existing council-managed open areas. Over $lm will be spent on adding books, serials, microforms, CD-Roms and other materials to the collections of Northern Territory libraries generally and the Northern Territory 3492
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