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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 51 First Report Mr ELFERINK: From what part of the budget was that extra budget allocation made? Was it in the budget process or is it from the Treasurers advance? Ms PRINCE: There was some additional funding provided towards the end of the past financial year. Mr ELFERINK: Yes, from what source? Ms PRINCE: Was it provided through Treasurers Advance? I think it was. 191 The question to determine that the money was being drawn from the Treasurers Advance was avoided twice and until it was framed in such a way as to be only answerable with the answer originally sought. It would have been clear to the Under Treasurer what the question implied, but the answer was not readily forthcoming. Whilst loyalty to the Government of the day is commendable, it is not what was promised by the Chief Minister. Another shortcoming by the Committee is its lack of desire to use the powers that it has. The CTC expressed their surprise that NT Gas simply refused to attend. The response was to send another stern letter. Whilst the Country Liberals, albeit reluctantly, agreed to a mere letter to remind NT Gas of the powers of the Committee, it is about time that the CTC asserted itself if it is to measure up to what is expected of it. Currently, the spirit of co-operation is rendering it a powerless organ. The fact is that the CTC has the power to summon witnesses and subpoena documents and it should do so. Again in line with raising the matters of the failure to get material and the lacklustre approach of the departments, we go back to the point about provision of secretariat support and preparation for hearings. When we are dealing with deeply complex departments like Treasury and the issue of SIHIP, a better process is to have people working for or contracted to the Committee who can provide useful guidance on these areas. We are not suggesting that there is an abrogation of responsibility from the members to undertake the work, but by the sheer volume and as stated above, complexity, this effort by the Committee Secretariat is essential, if this Committee is to have any chance of success in meeting the expectations set for it. The Country Liberals believe that all these issues finally rest on Committee Members and ultimately, the Chair. It is how members conduct themselves in their role, and importantly, how they assert their leadership that will ultimately determine the value of this committee. Conclusions In conclusion, if the CTC is to enjoy the continued support of its members and the public at large it is going to have to become far more assertive and active in its conduct. The Country Liberals have been critical of this Committee from the outset because it expected these shortcomings to manifest themselves as they indeed have. In essence the CTC is, from the Governments perspective, more about staying in power by ensuring the support of the Member for Nelson than it is about improving the governance of the NT. The continued calamities that have occurred since the 191 Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory (LANT), Council of Territory Co-operation (CTC), Transcript of Proceedings, Darwin, Monday 9 November 2009, pp.20-1.

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