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 massive. However, as a result, 100 t fuel trucks are using a road that was built for use by 1.5 t trucks. No wonder it has been tom to pieces! There is a desperate need for the bitumen to be extended out past the Napperby lakes and then through to Yuendumu. Look at the Gulf route, through to Queensland. Many bridges over rivers and creeks must be improved to provide all-weather access. The Treasurer is also the Minister for Tourism and therefore he should realise the need for capital investment in our national parks to cater for the substantial increase in visitors. Roughly half of the Territorys population outside the main centres is either unhoused or living in shared accommodation. All we have from members opposite is crocodile tears and requests to the Commonwealth to write off housing debts. Once again, a budget has been brought down in which the Territory government refuses to direct its own-source revenue to remote area housing programs. On top of this, the Treasurer has presented a statement claiming there is a declining need for major new government infrastructure, despite the fact that Territory public servants have advised the government that there is a need for about 5000 new houses simply to catch up with the backlog. I suggest the Treasurer should talk to the 5000 families who are unhoused and suffering the ill health that comes from having inadequate shelter. When he thinks about the decline of the capital works program, why not think about them, and think of the opportunity that he had to do something for them. In recent months, we have had some welcome statements from various ministers who are recognising finally that improving Aboriginal health is not simply a matter of health expenditure, although that is certainly a part of it. It is also related to housing and health infrastructure and other quality-of-life factors, including employment. However, in this budget, we see no additional money for remote area housing programs and housing infrastructure, or support for any employment programs similar to the federal CDEP program. Instead, the statement is made in the budget papers that there is a declining need for major new infrastructure in the Territory. Palliative care has received a fair bit of air time in the last 6 months. We have had no less a figure than the Chief Minister saying that he wants proper palliative care to be available in the Northern Territory. I understand that he made a commitment to have a hospice established here. All we could find on the subject in the budget was a single line. That is another matter which received scant attention from the Treasurer, despite all the assurances that palliative care in the Territory would be brought up to standard. In a 45-minute speech, a single line said that the details on that were to be released at a later stage. Thus, if members intend to vote for palliative care, they will have to vote on trust because this is yet another area where the details have not been worked out. The government does not know what it will do. Experts can tell it that the budget has been cobbled together without any work being done on the details. There is no budget allocation for it at all - no details. Take it on trust. One of the most disturbing elements about the budget has been the Treasurers claim that the Savage increases in taxes and charges are related to the Territoiys constitutional development towards statehood. I nearly fell off my chair when I heard the Treasurer running this line: We have only recently received some encouraging survey results which show the majority of Territorians, and Australians generally, are well disposed to the constitutional development of the Northern Territory with a view to the Territory becoming Australias 3463