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
DEBATES - Wednesday 28 February 2001 certainly didnt do anything to deny it. He has had assurances from this government - and it was all the Minister for Lands, Planning and Environments fault anyway, according to the member for Wanguri - that, at this stage, the government has no designs on it. So, its bad news, but hang on a sec, its good news. As we have said, this particular land deal is something that gives government options. The member for Wanguri has had it explained to him very plainly and very clearly and yet he continues on about secret government land deals, blowing the whistle, shrouded in secrecy, and blackmailing the Northern Territory University. It is bad news and good news. It was the member for Wanguri who claimed it was the government trying to have it both ways, when he himself is doing it. This is a very proactive government. The member is trying to play catch-up on this, and gives government control of that particular site. We have blackmailed no one. It was a facility that had been given to the university in the first place. We came to an arrangement; a deal was struck, if you wish to call it a deal; and back it came. It is incorrect to imply it was bought back for $7m. It was this government fulfilling its obligation to the Northern Territory University in funding TAFE. This government has a long track record of doing exactly that, backing the Northern Territory University, often at the continued opposition of Territory Labor and, quite frankly, politicians on both sides of the political fence in Canberra. I dont think that either side of politics in Canberra can cover themselves in glory in relation to the Northern Territory University, but then neither can the opposition on the local scene. We are talking today about aged care. In relation to the site at Tiwi, the member has been told where we are at. To be talking about rumours, coming clean, having whistles blown, and all this sort of thing, is simply scaremongering. It is rumour mongering, and it is sensationalist in the extreme. I have spoken to quite a few of the residents in the area. I assured many of the residents of the Tiwi retirement village that none of the rumours were true. Everyone has been assured that, if and when anything was to happen, there would be a consultation process, and that is what people needed to be reassured of. If the member for Wanguri would like to take that message back and spread the word, it would make a nice change. It is a case of saying, Well, I have heard this; it looks like the government is doing this, and it is either jumping at shadows or playing catch-up. I think it is good news. This government is moving ahead in aged care. The opposition, hopefully, can stop living in the past on these things. At least it can stop jumping at shadows. In this particular case, it is either good news or bad news. We have fooled no one. We have done nothing underhanded. A member: Attempted to. Mr ADAMSON: We have not even attempted to fool anyone. The only people who may have been fooled by this whole thing appear to be the opposition who are, I think, very much jumping at shadows. In relation to the Northern Territory University arrangement, the Vice Chancellor said at the time that the funding was about right - I think they were the words he used. The Northern Territory University is happy; the government is happy. The only people who appear to be unhappy with this situation is the opposition, but then they wouldnt recognise good news if it woke them up in the morning. I assure the residents of the area this will not be sprung on them. It is something I have supported and will continue to support in the future. Mr HATTON (Nightcliff): Mr Speaker, I am driven to speak on this after listening to the debate. I remind honourable members that the fact we have a shortage of accommodation for nursing homes and aged pensioners is, strangely, a result of the success of the Northern Territory governments initiatives in creating an environment that has encouraged aged persons to retire to the Northern Territory. This includes not only those who stay on and retire here, but those people who are moving to the Northern Territory to retire to be with their children. This is a vastly different story from the time when self- government started. Even before there was a Labor Party in the Legislative Assembly, during pre self-government days and immediately after self-government, this government took a firm decision that it would set in place a series of initiatives - this is back in the Everingham days - to encourage aged people to stay here. To encourage our young population to stay, we increased the quality of secondary education. We then increased tertiary education through the university to discourage families leaving the Territory, and young people, to advance their careers. And, at the other end of the spectrum, we created many for people to retire here in the Northern Territory. 7519
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