Territory Stories

Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 15 June 2004



Questions Day 1 - Tuesday 15 June 2004

Other title

Parliamentary Record 20


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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

QUESTIONS - Tuesday 15 June 2004 unemployment in the country at 4.9%. In the last two months, March to April, 200 more full-time jobs in the Territory. We are celebrating it. What is the opposition saying? The place is in ruins. The ANZ job adverts between April to May show a 5.3% increase in the number of jobs advertised between those two months, and in a full year that was a 15.4% increase - more opportunities for us to fmd jobs. Motor vehicles: 6.7% increase in a year. Let us look at some of the brief facts from tourism: airline seats, domestic to Darwin, from June to June comparison - 27% increase; in Alice Springs - 11% increase. Hotel occupancy in Darwin over May and June - at its best - full. The industry is saying their forward bookings are very strong, and the prospects are looking much better. In building, in retail, in jobs, the prospects are looking much better. We on this side of the House are celebrating with Territorians. What is the opposition doing? They are talking down the Territory. Madam SPEAKER: Well, I am very pleased to hear, Chief Minister, that we are having BassintheGrass but not Lust in the Dust. Ms MARTIN: Bass in the Dust. Taxation - Wet Hire Duty Mr MILLS to TREASURER You represent a government that is, in fact, no friend to Territory business. You have demonstrated this by not meeting with Territory small business operators outside this parliament today. This adds insult to injury when your business minister cancelled a previous meeting with five minutes notice. Minister, when will you meet with these Territory businesses? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. There would be very few who would join him in a claim that this government is no friend of business following the budget that I handed down in this parliament on 18 May, where we went much further than business expected in relation to reducing the impost of payroll tax. The Chamber of Commerce, the Property Council - everywhere I went to talk about the budget, I received plaudits and commendation from business. That is not to say that there will not always be individuals, from time to time, disgruntled with government for one view or another The Leader of the Opposition refers to a company called Dicks Pumping Service. Dick Leech and Julie Harris own a company that offers a concreting service, where building firms hire their expertise and equipment for concrete pumping and, I am advised, for particularly difficult footing circumstances and high rise, because they have, obviously, a sound reputation for delivering that type of service. The Territory Commissioner of Taxation, on a random audit some time ago, determined that this company fell under the auspices of the wet hire provisions. This was a stamp duty arrangement introduced by the CLP and abolished by this government - as a business-friendly move again - in Budget 2003. The commissioner determined that this company owed back taxes on wet hire provisions prior to the date of abolition at the time of the budget in 2003. The company disputes that - often companies do dispute tax assessments - and discussions have ensued. It is a two-step process at this stage, although we are changing that as a result of this years budget. The first step is to put your objection back to the Taxation Office; they go through a process and make a decision. That step was taken and the Taxation Office stood by their ruling. Mr Leech and Ms Harris met with AlfLeonardi from my office, and Mike Butler from Treasury, on Friday, 30 January where they put their case to them. Those issues were forwarded to the Treasurer and Treasury. They met with the Chief Minister. They have held discussions with members of the staff of the Minister for Business and Industry. The decision is that the matter must run its course through the normal appeal processes. The company has at its disposal an opportunity to challenge the commissioners determination. They have done so. They have an opportunity to challenge this further by taking the matter to the Supreme Court. They have done this; an appeal was lodged some months ago. That is the proper process and that is where it should be decided. The commissioner is separate from government in his decision-making - rightly so. It is the commissioner who makes those decisions, independent of government. The matter is before the courts. It would be inappropriate for me to go further than to outline the background, as I have. There is an appeal lodged in the Supreme Court over the Taxation Offices decision, and it will be heard. One side will be found to be right in the decision to be made by the Supreme Court. That is where it rests. It would be inappropriate for me to go further on any detail - not that I know any more than that, and nor should I. It 1076