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The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010



The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010

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Tabled paper 714


Tabled Papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled By Gerard Wood


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Council of Territory Co-operation iv First Report CHAIRS FOREWARD The Council of Territory Cooperation (CTC) is a new Parliamentary Committee that was developed as part of an agreement between the Chief Minister and me in August 2009. A more detailed overview of the role of the CTC is found in the introduction to this report. Of course like any new idea the CTC has had teething problems and it has taken some time for the role of the council to be understood and to be developed. The CTC has broken new ground in a number of ways. It is a committee where the Government does not have the majority and the chair does not have to be a member of Government. It has the power to self-refer issues without approval from the Parliament. It operates under the general principle that meetings are open to the public and the media, unless there is a legitimate reason for that to be otherwise. It is able to question not only public servants from within Government Departments but also semi-government and non government organisations about their roles in the development of Government policies. Ministers can be invited to attend but are not compelled to. The Committee is conscious of the fact that it needs to get out on the ground to see what is happening and to talk to people in not only the major centres but also those places in more remote parts of the Territory where Government policies are directed. This gives an opportunity for Members of parliament to learn first hand and to hear first hand what some of the issues are and what the realities are on the ground that may not be evident from a distant electorate. I am sure this will help us all be better educated members of Parliament leading to more informed debate and hopefully more effective solutions to some of the major issues that we presently face in the Territory. Besides holding hearings in Darwin, the Council also met in Tennant Creek, Alice Springs and Katherine with local governments, housing alliances, various groups and members of the public. It has since travelled to other centres but reports on these visits could not be included in this report as it was agreed by the Council that this report would be confined to the end of last year. It would have been good to have included the other visits in this report, but Hansard corrections and ratification from participants would not have been available in time. Another positive is that this committee has the opportunity for all sides of politics to work together to bring about positive change through the recommendations it brings to Parliament, as it has in this report. Of course the proof of whether this Council is being taken seriously will be evident if the Government supports the CTCs recommendations and whether there is improvement on the ground. This report contains 21 recommendations eleven of which relate to SIHIP, six recommendations deal with local government reform, one is both a local government and Working Future recommendation and three deal with the operations of the Council. There has been some criticism of the operations of the CTC internally and externally. These have been noted and have lead to some positive changes. As chair I am determined to do my best to make sure the CTC continues to overview Government policies such as SIHIP, Local Government Reform and Working Future. These are big issues which affect many people especially in the remote areas of the