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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Treasurer and the Chief Minister both swore that the budget was on track, only to lock themselves away following the election to emerge in the new year with the well-remembered ERC cuts. Last years budget presumably fitted the electoral cycle also. In the Treasurers own words, there were plenty of giveaways and no increases in taxes or charges because the government was staring an election in the face. At that time, even the Lions Club in Gove managed to score $10 000 from the Chief Minister who was meeting all bids in order to retain his position - although I recall that it asked for $20 000. If the Lions Club finishes the building this year, it may not be able to use it because it will not be able to afford the increased water and sewerage charges, let alone the fire levy. Another example of the unfunded nature of many of the election promises which Territorians have now to pay for is the access for the disabled at Nhulunbuy Primary School. The government threw $70 000 at this last year. The cost has now escalated to about double that amount, and that access has still not been provided some 15 to 16 months later. M r Finch: No thanks to you and your interference. They could do without a lobbyist like you coming in here and carrying on like a pork chop. M r STIRLING: It is my job to represent the interests of that community and to speak on its behalf. I will continue to speak on behalf of my constituents to ensure that you, as the responsible minister, and your government live up to the promises that you made. M r Finch: We have, but no thanks to you. M r STIRLING: Another example is the promise to create the Academy of Sport which was unfunded in the budget last year. It was expected to be up and running by about July 1995. It may now be operating in 1996, but is still without a costing. Every one of the tax increases - the 10a litre on fuel, the bus fare increases, the Housing Commission rent rises, the taxes on smokes and cask wine, the water and sewerage charge increases, the increased stamp duty on car purchases - is regressive. They all hit the pockets of lower- and middle-income earners far harder than they do the pockets of those who are well off. Of course, the fire levy will also be regressive in nature unless it is tied to some form of property valuation. It is a tax that has not been worked out fully in any detail as yet. The Treasurer cannot know what effect it will have on revenue if the levels and the application are not yet determined. If the levy is to be based on the user-pays principle, what analysis has been done to establish who the primary users are? Personal knowledge would suggest that not too many private dwellings burn down in any one year. The impression of hasty, chaotic preparation is reinforced when a tax is introduced without the Treasurer having any knowledge of who will pay and how much they will pay, let alone whether concessions will apply to pensioners, low-income earners, Housing Commission tenants and so on. The Treasurer introduced the budget last Thursday without mentioning that Housing Commission rents are to increase. Just 3 days later, the Sunday Territorian headlined: NT Government Puts up Home Rents. According to the article, the rent on a 3-bedroom home is to increase by 18% across the Northern Territory and other increases are to range from DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 3501