Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 seventh state. However, people, especially Territorians, have one major concern - that Territory taxation would increase substantially if the Territory were to become a state. On the Treasurers own admission, the budget brought down last Thursday introduced the most savage increases in taxation imposed by any state, territory or Commonwealth government for at least the last 15 years. Suddenly, it has pushed the Territorys taxation above the all-state average, and the Treasurer is promoting the taxation increases as part of the push for statehood. He is saying that this is the cost. M r Coulter: But that is what you have been saying. M r EDE: He is saying that, if we want statehood, we must have these increased charges. If this is only a precursor, people must be wondering how bad things will be farther down the road. If the Treasurer is trying to destroy public support for statehood, he is going the right way about it. What damage does the Treasurer think he has done by those statements? Do other members of the government agree that this is the line that should be taken as a means of selling the savage tax and charge increases? Is he saying that this is what statehood is all about? In fact, it is not. I want to make that clear. What these tax and charge increases are about is paying for this governments mismanagement and for Yulara, the Sheraton hotels and Parliament House - the excesses of this government. That is what they are about. This is not about statehood. I hope the Chief Minister will refute what his Treasurer has said when he speaks to the bill. Either the Treasurer himself can take the responsibility for the tax and charge increases or he can try to fob it off as a furphy, but why did he load it on to statehood! He said that it is all statehoods fault. What damage has he done? Why didnt he come clean and say that these tax increases and the cuts to capital works were the governments preferred strategy to rein in Territory debt and pay for the losses on Yulara and the Sheratons and the cost of the Parliament House? These taxes and charges have nothing to do with statehood. They are purely a hangover from the non-productive debt levels that have been accumulated by the CLP as a result of government intervention in what should have been private business sector investments. This budget is structurally the worst that the government has ever presented. It contains numerous rubbery estimates on both the expenditure and the revenue sides. It contains straight-out errors, such as the inclusion of a full years revenue for poker machines, which will not be introduced until at least halfway through next year. It contains revenue estimates that can be described at this stage only as a wish list. An example is the proposed fire service tax. It includes stupid expenditure programs such as the 7 council employees proposed by the Minister for Health and Community Services to correct the problems associated with public drunkenness throughout the length and breadth of the Territory. The fact that the budget has been cobbled together so badly is clearly reflective of the paralysis affecting the government and the public service since the last election, and particularly since the Chief Minister decided that he was leaving, but has been unable to find a calendar to pick the date. Clearly, sections of the public service have been unable to communicate with their respective ministers, and the ministers have not been communicating with the Treasurer and vice versa. The budget has delivered this massive increase in taxes and charges. It takes Territory taxation above the all-state average. It shows no imagination or exciting programs, with the possible exception of the adoption of some Labor policy in the health area but we have yet to receive the details of 3464
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