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 1995-96. This compares favourably with the $52.46m or 36.8% anticipated in 1994-95. It is the governments aim to reduce continually outstanding liabilities to the Housing Commission and to ensure that adequate funding is available each year for a balanced mix between new capital and current spending versus the payment of outstanding liabilities. I refer now to 2 new measures. Under the terms of the proposed new Commonwealth State Housing Agreement, which is to be operational from 1 July 1996, the Territory is obliged to move to market rent for public housing. However, tenants already receiving concessional rents will be unaffected by the increases. To lessen the impact on tenants, the Territory government has decided to phase the introduction of market rents over 3 years, with each increase to be approved by the government following due consideration of all relevant circumstances. Further, the government undertakes to ensure that any tenant who is unable to afford the increased charges will be eligible for relief under the existing rebate policy. This will ensure that no tenant pays in excess of approximately 25% of income on rental costs. This is consistent with the existing rebate policy and the national benchmark for rebate assistance. On the other hand, rents for pensioners have been held at the 1992 levels and adjustments to rent levels in accordance with CPI movements in income will be phased in. I note that, as usual, members of the opposition are unable to grasp financial management issues. Because of the assistance this government provides to low-income earners and the impact of the Commonwealths requirement to introduce market rents, only those able to afford an increase will pay. Budget Paper No 3, Sources of Funds, explains the situation. With the introduction of means testing of tenants with the Housing Commission since 1991, an increasing proportion are coming into the rebated area. They represent some 49% of tenants now and, despite the rental increases which are included in the revenue budget, there is still a net decline in total revenue collection of some $770 000 because of that increasing proportion of people who are becoming rebate tenants. Our total rental receipts are declining in actual dollar terms because more and more people arc on the rebate scheme and, as a result, our total revenue is reducing. The effect of this rental increase, introduced in accordance with the CSHA requirements, will be to reduce the reduction in rental receipts from $2.8m to only $770 000. That is the effect of the rental increase. The Leader of the Opposition has saved himself embarrassment this morning by not asking me about this among his allegations because, in fact, these rental increases are included in the budget figures. I ask my shadow minister to note that. Mr Stirling: The Treasurer did not mention it in his speech. Mr HATTON: Mr Speaker, certainly it was mentioned before the debate, and I am giving the details now. It is not hidden. The rent rises equate to about a 5% increase in rent revenue, but that is off-set by the increasing proportion of clients on rental rebates as more tenants will move into the rental rebate safety net. In other words, in fulfilling the requirements of the Commonwealth, the Territory government has ensured that the increases are borne only by those who can afford them. 3495