Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 June 2003

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Parliamentary Record 13


Debates 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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DEBATES - Thursday 19 June 2003 the vehicle inspected, when a repair workshop may be much closer. Quite frankly, most police stations are ill equipped to conduct inspections on motor vehicles in the first instance. This amendment will allow the deeming provisions of section 33 to apply, provided strict conditions are met. I must emphasise that the unregistered motor vehicle must be driven by the shortest, most practical route to a repair workshop; the repair workshop must also be located within a reasonable distance in the circumstances; the repair workshop must have the services of an inspector appointed under the Motor Vehicles Act; and some prior arrangement for the presentation of the vehicle must have been made. Madam Speaker, I commend the bill to honourable members. Debate adjourned. APPROPRIATION BILL 2003-04 (Serial 147) Continued from 29 May 2003. Mr STIRLING (Treasurer): Madam Speaker, it was a great privilege to deliver my first Territory budget to this Assembly on 27 May. It took, as they always do, many months of analysis and careful consideration by Cabinet and Treasury to put the budget together. On the whole, with the exception of the other side of this Chamber, it has been generally well received by the Northern Territory community, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time. It is the nature of politics that you have to make compromises for the greater good. Territorians decided in August 2001 that they wanted the Martin Labor government to make those decisions on their behalf after the former government had failed to make the right decisions, in their eyes, during their last term of office. Despite the petulant bleatings coming from the opposite side, I am convinced that the faith Territorians placed in this government in 2001 has not, and will not, be misplaced. Prior to the last election, we set out a clear program of reform - a program that would entail evolution, not revolution, and has as a central theme Building a Better Territory. That program focussed on the essentials: jobs, safer communities, better education and health services for all, a more competitive tax system with other jurisdictions and a more equitable tax system within our own jurisdiction. The 2003-04 budget continues to deliver on those commitments to Territorians, as well as recognising how the world has changed since August 2001. This budget is responsible and responsive. With the exception of the member for Katherine, I am the longest serving member of this Assembly. In my time, I have seen 13 budgets delivered, six of them by the former Treasurer, the member for Katherine. I have listened to a lot of budget responses. The former Treasurer had the luxury of framing his budgets in a relatively benign international and local environment: 75% to 80% of the Territorys funding was linked to the financial assistance grants pool, which was maintained in real per capita terms throughout the decade prior to the introduction of the GST. He had the stimulus of the Commonwealth Labor governments decision to shift large amounts of Australias defence capability to the north. He had the massive expansion of oil production from Laminaria-Corallina, which boosted the Territorys economic growth levels to well above the Australian average. The only cloud on the horizon, which ended up with limited local impact except for the live cattle industry, was the Asian economic meltdown of 1997. Yet under those conditions, by 2001 we had a budget out of control, spiralling debt, a declining economy, a property market in the doldrums, and rising unemployment. Despite those good factors operating for them, the Country Liberal Party government had lost its way. It had placed all its eggs in the railway basket, leaving a short-changed capital works program with a huge revote from year to year. Infrastructure in the bush was at woeful levels. Property crime was rising despite the introduction of mandatory sentencing. Education results for Territory children were the worst in the nation. Despite commissioning the Collins report Learning Lessons, they refused to implement its recommendations. Territory Health Services lurched from crisis to crisis, with almost as many Health ministers as there were Cabinet ministers over the 10-year period. CEOs of Health seemed to barely get the pads on before they were dismissed and sent marching from the wicket. The tone of opposition budget responses is set by the Opposition Leader of the day, and I listened with interest, which grew, really, to astonishment at the response from the Leader of the Opposition, because his response certainly had more to do with trying to maintain his current position as leader than any considered attempt at understanding or analysing the budget. In fact, his whole speech revolved around this concept of leadership. He attempted to criticise the Martin government for its lack of leadership while, at the same time, he was casting doubt upon his own because he showed that neither he nor the 4375