Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 24 February 1998
Parliamentary Record 4
Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
QUESTIONS - Tuesday 24 February 1998 he intend to do about these statements that are destroying morale at the jail? ANSWER Madam Speaker, as usual, the member for Nhulunbuy has quoted selectively from a discussion that was held by the superintendent of the Alice Springs Correctional Centre with a number of prison officer staff. This incident has been fully discussed by the commissioner, Dave Moore, who was in Alice Springs last weekend, and the prison superintendent. The commissioner reported back to me yesterday on this matter. There is no doubt in my mind and the mind of the commissioner that some small-minded people in the union managed to take some of the comments that were made by the staff completely out of context. Some of the claims that the member for Nhulunbuy has been making over the last few days have been absolutely outrageous. He has this ability to go into the community and ... Mr Stirling inteijecting. Mr POOLE: He has the ability to make mischievous statements. An example is his reference to the use of CS gas ... Mr Stirling inteijecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Mr POOLE: ... which has been thoroughly investigated by the department. In actual fact, at the time of the alleged incident, no officer in the whole of the prison system, whether they be union people, prison wardens, management or superintendents, ever made a request to use gas. The honourable member has been very mischievous in many of the things that he has said. He seems to think ... Mr Stirling: Answer the question. Do you agree with Brown? Mr POOLE: I certainly support Superintendent Brown. I certainly support the management and the staff. Mr Stirling inteijecting. Mr POOLE: You dont like it, do you, Syd? i The member for Nhulunbuy also made the statement, which was very demoralising to prison officers in general, that they allow Aboriginal prisoners in the minimum security areas to drink. That has been rebutted by the many officers to whom I have spoken over the past few days. In fact, all prisoners are regularly breath-tested. There has been no evidence to suggest that anybody in minimum security has been drinking. Further, the honourable member, who represents Aboriginal Territorians, would be well aware that Aboriginal prisoners far prefer to sleep on mattresses outside in the open air which they can do at the minimum security cottages. Because of that, he has his mind in the gutter. He issued press releases and said on radio that they are fornicating, that they are bringing women on to the prison property. There is no evidence of that whatsoever. He is completely misleading the general pubhc. He is doing a major disservice to his union mates in Alice Springs. They certainly do not support him. They have all been on the phone to me over the weekend denying any such incidents. In fact, the only thing we are investigating is the action of a union official who seems to be the one responsible for keeping a person in prison longer than he should have been. Home Purchase Assistance Scheme Mr MITCHELL to MINISTER for HOUSING Last year, the government launched the new home purchase assistance scheme. Can the minister tell the House how the scheme is progressing to date? ANSWER Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to inform the House how these packages are going. The packages, which were introduced on 1 July 1997, have been an outstanding success. They comprise HomeStart, HomeShare, Early Start and HomeNorth Assist and are based on tenant-shared equity loans, deposit assistance grants and interest subsidy grants. From the introduction of the scheme to January this year, there has been a sharp increase in the number of applications. Over 500 households have applied for assistance through these packages since that time. I have a graphical representation of the figures for HomeStart loan advances and other figures from July 1997 to January 1998. I table these graphs. The comparison is $3m last year with a little over $13m this year. In the 6 months, deposit assistance has risen an incredible amount. The number of loans has doubled in comparison with the same period last year. 133
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