Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 November 1999
Parliamentary Record 20
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 23 November 1999 prodded into acting on some of those initiatives. Another is that even when we have innovations or knowledge that has been developed, this Country Liberal Party government has shown itself unable to translate that expertise or knowledge into practice and outcomes. I will mention a few of those listed achievements. The first one that the Deputy Chief Minister referred to was convention centres in Darwin and Alice Springs. Those initiatives have taken a lot of prodding and poking to get this government into action. In Alice Springs there were years of lobbying for such a convention centre, which the government had closed ears to. A member inteijecting. Ms MARTIN: I look forward to the member for Drysdales contribution to this debate, if he has such a mumbling voice at this stage. But the example of the convention centres - again, a great idea. It is something that we should have moved on earlier. But now proudly trumpeted by the CLP as look how were responding to the current situation. Further down the list, we have reference to alternative energy and what this government is doing. Yet, if you look seriously at alternative energy in the Territory, so far its done on a shoestring. We have not made any committed effort to develop the potential for alternative energy in the Territory and all you have to do is compare what is being done interstate. Look at Queensland, New South Wales and now South Australia with whats being done in terms of domestic use for solar power, and were right behind the eight-ball. As referred to by the member for Nelson, we get more sun per capita in the Territory than anywhere else. Picking up his earlier comment, yes, we do get more sun. I dont know the actual figures but we get a lot of sun here and we should be making a much greater use of solar power. There are incentives in place interstate, much greater incentives, up to about $500 per unit, to use solar power in a domestic sense - and nothing from us. Were still giving a subsidy for your first airconditioner. When this government refers to, look what were doing in terms of alternative energy sources, it is very shallow, very hollow, and we have a long way to go to catch up with our competitors in terms of other states. Look at the government policy of outsourcing. Were looking at information technology, legal accounting and audit services. Any reading of the Treasurers Annual Financial Statement and Annual Report shows that when it comes to the dollars associated with that outsourcing, they are tremendous. Whether that is the model that we want to follow is certainly something that this side of the House will be seriously questioning. Another reference is made to the Menzies School of Health research. Its groundbreaking work in areas like malaria vaccines, drug developments. Its work in tackling some of the diseases that we have, very sadly, here in the Territory, but when it comes to implementing the results of that research and seeing outcomes on the ground, again, this government is missing in action. It is all very well to say, Look what were doing, look what happens at Menzies but where is the correlation with outcomes for Territorians. We have a reference to the Centre for Remote Health, which offers medical professionals a masters of remote health. Wheres the link to outcomes for Territorians who live in those remote areas and who come into that ambit of remote health. I would have thought an initiative like that needs to have a tracking with outcomes to it, not just to say: Wow, arent we fantastic; we have this masters of remote health. Then there's a reference to the Centre for Tropical and Built Environment established at the Northern Tenitory University. Yes, a great initiative, but were shortly going to be debating our Planning Act. We have a great initiative at the university looking at the tropical environment, architecture, urban and regional planning, and tropical building surveying, but do any of those innovations or proposals that come from an area like the university sneak their way into our Planning Act, sneak their way into our building code - no. They dont. Absolutely not. To say what a wonderful institution we have, the Centre for Tropical and Built Environment, and then not see that its important to link those innovations, all that knowledge into how we actually build here, is again symptomatic of the simplistic approach that we see again, and again, and again from this Country Liberal Party government. Then a reference to the Maruku Arts and Crafts and the contribution its making in terms of diversifying the economy. Again, I say to the minister, its all very well to make reference to Aboriginal arts and craft but when it comes to how our sponsorship dollars are granted, 7% of the funds we have for sponsoring the art in the Tenitory goes towards Aboriginal arts and crafts. Yet here, touted as a major income earner for the Territory, many Aboriginal arts and crafts centres struggle to survive. There is huge potential for their ability to diversify our economy and to gain important export dollars for the Territory, but again 4784
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