Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 28 February 2001
Parliamentary Record 27
Debates for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 28 February 2001 This minister knows the truth of the shortages and hides behind public servants instead of explaining to Territorians what he is doing about it. He had an opportunity to come in here today and say what he is doing about this issue, but all we get is a heap of political rhetoric and a tirade of abuse. Lets move on to Leanyer Drive. This has taken up a lot of the Assemblys time this sittings. I give the new housing minister his due. He did go out and meet a delegation from the residents association, which is more than the local member did. The local member berated me in this House last week and stated: Hey, this is in my electorate. Well, his constituents were here today, he was there, and he didnt even have the intestinal fortitude to go over to talk to them. Lets look at this because, interestingly, I received a phone call yesterday from people in Tambling Terrace who had the privilege of meeting the new housing minister and other ministers last week at the official opening of the village. They stated the new housing minister waxed lyrical about what a better place Tiwi would be with further examples of similar accommodation. He said that residents should be talking to the member for Casuarina, who was actively pursuing an extension of aged facilities at Tiwi. So, I came into this House this week and suggested to the minister that he look at this option, and he aheady has looked at this option ... Members inteijecting. Mr HENDERSON: Hang on, you cant have it both ways ... Mr SPEAKER: Order! M r HENDERSON: I am interested in whether the Minister for Housing will contribute to this debate and confirm or deny what he had to say to senior Territorians at Tambling Terrace last week, because he was effusive in his comments. I am advised there would be a prime site, the returned Tiwi Primary School, for an extension of aged care facihties. The minister goes on to say that this man would sell out the seniors because there were a vocal few in his electorate who do not want to see this development go ahead. Well, it is in his electorate as well, and I accuse the minister of political cowardice in this. If he believes it is just a vocal few, why isnt he staying with the majority of his current constituents in the new electoral boundaries and contesting me in Wanguri, instead of running away as fast as his feet will cany him to the safe shores of Palmerston in the new boundaries of Drysdale? He knows how unpopular this government decision is. He is part of a Cabinet that has made this decision, but he does not have the intestinal fortitude, or the political courage, to stand up and be judged by his constituents at the next election. So, for him to come in here and say I am selling out his constituents for the vocal few, well, his actions speak louder than words. He still has an opportunity to hand over Drysdale to Robyn Cahill, who has been given the challenge of knocking me off, and taking on the challenge of standing against me in Wanguri. He says: I dont care where you put it; just take it somewhere else. Well, that is not the case. Speakers on the other side of the House earlier this week have insulted large numbers of people ... Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The honourable members time has expired. Dr LIM (Housing): Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise to support the ministers statement. In doing so, I propose to speak mainly about my portfolio responsibility for public housing. I will address the comments made by the member for Wanguri shortly. This government has recognised for many years there is an imbalance in the Northern Territory population. We have always been noted for having a young, vibrant population in comparison to the states. There is no doubt that the youth, optimism, and energy of our population has served the Territory well. But this government also recognises that keeping Territorians in the Territory as they age and retire is very important to our community. One of the problems is that elderly Tenitorians have tended to retire elsewhere in Australia. This may result in their families, who remain in the Territory, missing out on the wisdom and support of their parents and grandparents. In some cases, this can see the entire family ultimately moving away. This government recognised this situation some years ago and has moved to provide a specific range of support programs to encourage ageing Territorians to remain in the Territory. We have a specific Minister for Senior Territorians, who also has responsibility for Territory Health Services. Other initiatives have included the Seniors Card - there are some 7000 users of the card - the taxi voucher scheme, and the pensioner concession scheme, one of the more generous ones in the country. All these initiatives are designed to make life more comfortable for our senior Territorians. Another most important initiative is within Tenitory Housing. This government recognised that an imbalance had developed in the provision of 7515
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