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 Mr Reed: The same applies to the general alcohol levy. Mr BELL: A number of members of this Assembly probably buy the odd cask of wine. Mr Reed: Me. Everybody! Mr BELL: Mr Speaker, let me tell you that I do not. It is yonks since I bought cask wine. I drink some bottled wine. I do not mind a glass of red or chilled white, but I am basically a beer drinker. Despite the levy on heavy beer introduced a couple of years ago, I still drink a substantial amount of Victoria Bitter. However, to return to the point I am making, I do not see why drinkers of cask wine should be targeted particularly. Mr Reed: Beer drinkers are. Mr Coulter: It is pretty simple. They drink over 3 million litres of it a year and they make a hell of a mess. Mr BELL: It strikes me as blatant discrimination that it is only the drinkers of cask wine who are to be hit with this tax. Another issue to which I want to refer particularly relates to the Aboriginal health strategy that the minister announced. Let me say that I am fundamentally positive about this, and I believe that the government deserves to be congratulated on taking on this issue. As critical as I am about its failure to address unemployment in the bush, I believe it deserves congratulation on this. I have some criticism, but I do not want it to be taken as anything other than constructive criticism, and support for addressing a pressing area of need. It was heartening to hear the Treasurer say, in his second-reading speech, that current expenditure on health would increase from $24 lm to $254m. He said that the Territory would be spending $ 139.2m overall, or approximately 55% of the total health budget, on Aboriginal health, excluding community services. That is encouraging. I have a question there. How was the figure of $139.2m on Aboriginal health arrived at? I am interested in the way those figures are calculated. I do not see any reference in the annual report from the Department of Health and Community Services to a figure in that regard. If I have missed it, the honourable minister will take great relish in pointing it out to me. However, I want to see that figure of 55% justified. I will also be looking forward to the announcement of the 5-year targets and the plan by the Minister for Health and Community Services. I am interested that the minister could have chosen to make a ministerial statement on exactly that issue, but that he chose instead to make a ministerial statement on his private police force. It might have advanced the issue if he had put the Aboriginal health strategy higher up on his list of priorities and delivered a statement in that regard thereby initiating a debate on that. I urge the minister to address a particular problem with the grant-in-aid health services. This is a general issue that has been drawn to my attention by the Australian Nurses Federation. It impinges also on the grant-in-aid health services in my electorate, and I refer 3532