The Council of Territory Co-operation Committee First Report February 2010
Tabled paper 714
Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Gerard Wood
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
Council of Territory Co-operation 28 First Report Yes, we do all that. We operate it on a fee-for-service basis. We have a manager who oversees all of our commercial operations. We have a lot of local employment in those operationsI could not tell you whether we are actually in the black with all of these operations right now, but I know it is managed very carefully. 110 The financial realities described by most shire councils during the CTCs initial hearings is perhaps best demonstrated in the following description about decisions on what services to provide with available funding. We have a choice right nowof closing at least one of our child care centres, because there is simply not enough funding provided by the agency to justify us performing the service. But we cannot do that. We cannot simply close a childcare centre, which has just opened up, on financial grounds. Again, the constituents in the major communities, through their rates, through what discretionary funding we have left, we are supporting agency activities. Until this situation is remedied, across the Territory shires will continue to subsidise essential services to people in communities. 111 The Northern Territory Cattlemens Associations President, Mr Rohan Sullivan, noted that the main problem with the shires financial situations is that the rate base is too small to significantly contribute to shire revenue. One of the Associations main concerns with local government reform was that because the shires rates bases are so low, rating (and rate capping) on pastoral stations could increase to an unsustainable level. Mr Sullivan added that he was advised by the previous Minister that the local government reform process was needed, not to increase rates, but to assist in getting additional roads funding through the Australian Government. When he raised this with Australian Government Ministers, he was advised that there would be no extra money.112 Mr Sullivan said he is concerned that there has been no increase in roads funding.113 Recommendation 12 The Council recommends that the Northern Territory Government amend legislation to enable shires to increase their own revenue base, such as through Service Fees in remote Aboriginal communities where they provide services. Recommendation 13 The Council recommends that the Minister for Local Government establish a working relationship with shires and municipal councils based on the model of the Capital Cities Committee to improve on the delivery of services and community development. CouncilBiz and IT System The Council raised a number of concerns about the CouncilBiz and IT (known as ShiresBiz) systems, developed as part of local government reform and being used by most shires. Mr David Ritchie (DLGH) explained that a part of the design of local construction, housing tenancy management, mainstream services such as postal services and Centrelink, non-council roads, power, water and sewerage, visitor accommodation and tourist information. LANT, CTC, Transcript of Proceedings, Katherine, Wednesday 2 December 2009, p.24. 110 LANT, CTC, Transcript of Proceedings, Katherine, Wednesday 2 December 2009, pp.24-5. 111 LANT, CTC, Transcript of Proceedings, Alice Springs, Monday 23 November 2009, p.37. 112 LANT, CTC, Transcript of Proceedings, Katherine, Wednesday 2 December 2009, p.31. 113 LANT, CTC, Transcript of Proceedings, Tennant Creek, Thursday 19 November 2009, p.33.
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