Territory Stories

Questions Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003



Questions Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003

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Parliamentary Record 13


Question for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; Questions for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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QUESTIONS - Thursday 19 June 2003 Madam SPEAKER: Leader of the Opposition, I just spoke to all members and asked you all to keep your inteijections silent. M r Burke: I am sorry, Madam Speaker. ANSWER I can be patient, Madam Speaker. I understand the arrogance of the Leader of the Opposition sometimes when faced with the truth. The ABS did release data today on new motor vehicle sales in the Northern Territory. What it has to say about activity in the Northern Territory is interesting. The information relating to new motor vehicle sales is very robust because it comes from returns from all the motor vehicle dealers. So you can be quite sure that it is an accurate portrayal of what is going on unlike, for example, and I am not casting aspersions against the ABS in relation to employment statistics, but it is not, and no one can pretend, and the ABS would not pretend, that it is by any means an accurate account, it is an estimate, whereas this is an accurate account. The estimate for the ABS employment statistics is walking down streets and knocking on doors. That is how they work out the percentage of people employed and unemployed. This is returns from motor vehicle dealers. Of course, though, there is a degree of volatility in the month to month data because of the smallness of the population, so it is important to use trend lines in information such as this. In May 2003, sales of new motor vehicles were up 1.3% from the previous month to 715. The increase from May 2002 to May 2003 is 14.6%. That was the third highest increase in the country, behind South Australia and Queensland, but it is well above the Australian average of 10.8%. I said these figures were interesting because of how robust they are, and they do contrast strongly with those population figures that the ABS published. On the one hand they are saying the population has declined, and is continuing to decline, yet we have this almost 15% increase in new motor vehicle sales. If people are leaving the Territory, as those opposite and some of the ABS figures would suggest, you would have to ask who is buying all these new vehicles? The graph shows South Australia at the highest, Queensland the second highest, Northern Territory coming in third, but well above the Australian average, which is the black line. I table the graph for the information of members. The trend across Australia is the blue line, and there is the NT very strongly kicking up throughout 2002-03. If you look at housing finance data, both the number of loans and the amount borrowed is rising strongly at present. Again, that sits somewhat at odds with the information on population from the ABS. I put the mix in there, because the opposition always seems to want to jump on one series of statistical information that suits their cause at the time as an indicator of the overall economic performance. I have stood here in relation to the budget and said economic performance has been patchy. We do not deny that at all. However, when you see these figures and we are told the population is declining, we do not agree with those population figures. We will continue to run that with the federal Treasurer. These statistics certainly defy any prediction like that. Safety of Remote Area Nurses Mr DUNHAM to MINISTER for HEALTH and COMMUNITY SERVICES Now that you have had a chance to flick through the report, I hope you will, like me, feel the horror, disgust and anger that I felt when I first read this report. Minister, I am totally dissatisfied with your hand-wringing platitudes that you have offered staff, your feeble assurances of safety in this House will give no comfort to nurses who are at substantial risk. All of your undertakings have come to naught... M r HENDERSON: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Is the member for Drysdale making a statement, or is he asking a question? Could you ask him to hurry along, please? Madam SPEAKER: Your question, member for Drysdale. M r DUNHAM: Madam Speaker, I am left with no option but to censure the minister to force the minister to give the proper ministerial attention to this urgent issue that it deserves. I move that this Assembly censures the Minister for Health and Community Services for: her failure to meet her statutory responsibility to protect the health and safety of staff of her department while at work as evidenced by the current crisis in the Gove district; her failure to implement any real commitment to her aggression policy, as introduced in February last year; her failure to ensure that staff working at our hospitals in remote community health centres 668