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 add that these are the first real increases in 3 years. Thus, the Territory has really done very well over that period. Compare that to the recent federal budget in which the cost of builders hardware materials was increased by 12%. That is the first time that building materials have been taxed in this country, and it is a massive tax of 12%. One can imagine the flow-on effects that will have right across the building industry which is very important to the Northern Territorys economy. That problem has been compounded by the ever-increasing interest rates over the last 12 or 18 months. I have heard estimates that a couple of thousand dollars will be added to the top line for new homes built in this country, a considerable impost on new home buyers, those poor people who are trying to save a deposit to obtain their first home. It is very difficult for them. An additional 6% has been added to the cost of passenger vehicles. I forget the exact amount, but I think it was from 17% or 18% that they increased to around 22% to 23%, and there is an increase of 3% in company tax. After many years, we find small businesses are beginning to recover from the recession, during which they experienced a tough time for about 5 years, and the federal government now hits them fair between the eyes again with an increase of 3% in company tax. As far as the Northern Territory is concerned, despite the increase of $41m, our taxes and charges remain overall below the 6-state average and, although we may be slightly above a couple of the states, the Territorys taxes and charges still compare well with the states. The reality is that this years Territory budget is fiscally very responsible. Of course, there comes a time in the history of any government when it must increase taxes and charges, but this government has done it in a responsible manner and by containing and limiting its own spending and its own programs, quite unlike the federal government. Over the years, on a number of occasions, we have heard Prime Minister Keating preach the virtues of fiscal responsibility to the states and the territories. I can recall that, 10 years or so ago, the states had to tighten their fiscal belts yet another notch, year after year, and the Northern Territory suffered particularly badly as part of that exercise because Mr Keating, the then Treasurer, perceived that it was generously funded, indeed over-generously funded in his perception, and the Territory has paid the price for that. Those days have gone now, but I will give a couple of examples to demonstrate what I am talking about. The first relates to Commonwealth general outlays expenditure. In 1988-89, Commonwealth general outlays amounted to $78 900m. This year, it is most likely that they will reach $117 000m. That is a substantial increase and, at the same time, and during the period when the states and territories have had to bear the brunt of reductions in overall spending, the Commonwealth has continued to increase its spending. Let us look, for example, at Australias horrendous foreign debt that is really galloping away like a bushfire. In 1983, Australias foreign debt was $23 000m. That was when Labor moved into government federally. Mr Bailey: A point of order, Mr Speaker! I draw attention the state of the House. Mr SPEAKER: Attention has been called to the state of the House. No quorum is present. Ring the bells! Bells rung. 3551

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