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 Community Arts, the Corrugated Iron Youth Theatre, Tracks Dance Collective, Crafts Council NT, Darwin Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Territory Centre for Contemporary Arts. Initiatives arising in calendar year 1995 include S20 000 towards the artists-in-schools program and $20 000 to ARTBACK (NETS NT) to tour visual art and craft exhibitions to regions throughout the Territory. In my capacity as member for Port Darwin, I was delighted to see the additional funding that has been allocated to the water gardens and the Botanic Gardens which are in my electorate. I am very proud of the Botanic Gardens, and veiy pleased to see that my colleagues were disposed to continue that very important project, and also the Urban Enhancement Program the results of which are so obvious when one moves around this magnificent city of ours, particularly along the Esplanade and Smith Street West. Those areas have changed considerably over even the last 5 years. Of course, much credit must go to the Chief Minister who has been at the forefront of the Urban Enhancement Program. I am very proud to represent the electorate of Port Darwin which is almost on a par with the garden state of Victoria. It is fast becoming the garden city of the north. I support the budget. Mr BELL (MacDonnell): Mr Speaker, I want to make some specific comments on the impact that the budget introduced in the ministers second-reading speech has on my electorate. I want to make some broad comments about the fiscal strategy it relates to, and some particular comments about the Aboriginal health initiatives announced in the budget. In debate on previous budgets in this Assembly, I have asked time and time again why mention of the disastrous economic circumstances in Aboriginal communities are never mentioned. The people who write our newspapers and the people who produce our television programs have to bear equal responsibility for the essentially impoverished debate about employment opportunities in the Northern Territory. At page 4 of the budget speech, in his section on The Territory Scene, the Treasurer talked about the outstanding performance of the Territory economy. He said that Territorians continue to enjoy high wages and commented that we have the second-highest average weekly earnings. He said the outstanding performance of the sun belt states was shared by the Territory, that the Territorys labour force had had employment growth of about 16% over the past year, far greater than any other state or territory, and that we have the lowest unemployment rate in Australia at 6.6%. However, it is simply not good enough to trot out figures like that when the minister knows about spot unemployment around bush communities. When talking about the Territory economy, it is not good enough to talk only about the chances of getting a job in Darwin or Katherine. Award wage job opportunities matter as much in the bush as they do in places like Darwin and Alice Springs where seats are held by Country Liberal Party members. Discussion of the problems of Aboriginal health must include the problems of Aboriginal unemployment and underemployment. That these have not rated a mention in budget after budget is something that successive CLP governments should be ashamed of. Commentators on the Territory situation ought also to be ashamed. It is a total blind spot. I believe a better analysis of that issue could be of particular advantage in addressing exactly the problems that are of concern. It is not good enough to complain about Aboriginal drunks in Alice Springs or 3528