Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003

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Parliamentary Record 11


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 1 May 2003 In addition to th a t... Members interjecting. Mr REED: Do we have to, Madam Speaker? I know it is embarrassing for them. In addition to that, the governments own business operations have changed from, in 2000-01, a $37m profit, turned around with a reversal of $48m to an $1 lm loss in 2001-02. Even the governments business enterprises are now operating at a huge loss. They are very, very worrying economic indicators. I also point to the tourism industry. The Minister for Tourism told us earlier this week that June was the time to start promoting to attract visitors to the Northern Territory. Not so, if you ask the tourism industry. They are very concerned about tourism numbers this year. Promotion is not taking place, as the other states are doing, to attract people to the Northern Territory and, in addition to that, the promotion is not going to start until June. The Tourism Minister reckons that is the time to do it. It is not; it is too late, and we are behind the eight ball. Tourism employs one in 10 people in the Northern Territory. The future for the economy for this coming year is very bleak, and it ill behoves the Treasurer to get up and tell the business community otherwise. Mr STIRLING (Treasurer): Hold the front page, Madam Speaker! Friend of small business for many years, the CLP member for Katherine, the shadow Treasurer, calls on the Labor government to up taxes on business. Well, we are not going to do that because that was your opening argument: tax receipts falling. We are proud of that, because we reduced taxes. We reduced the tax impost on business at the last budget, and we will have similar measures in the forthcoming budget for 2003-04. It is remarkable for the opposition to call on the government to increase the tax load on businesses that are doing it tough out there. If you want to know - and he well knows, Madam Speaker - why all state jurisdictions own source revenue is declining, it is because of the deal that he and his mates signed up with the federal Treasurer years ago, when they introduced the GST. We now have a GST pool, and we had to give up a whole range o f taxes. That is why own source revenue is decreasing, along with our measures to decrease taxes. I tell you, we will not be upping the taxes on businesses, as you would want. Members inteijecting. Madam SPEAKER: Order! Order, thank you, member for Drysdale. Visitors Madam SPEAKER: Minister for Lands and Planning, before you start, I believe there are some students from ANZAC Hill High and Sadadeen Primary in the gallery. Is that so? Yes, there are. On behalf of all members, I extend to you a warm welcome. Members: Hear, hear! Native Title Land Release in Alice Springs Mr VATSKALIS (Lands and Planning): Madam Speaker, today I report to parliament on the achievements of Australias first negotiated settlement of native title matters on residential land. That is to take nothing away from the Rosebery Bellamack deal. That was a sound deal with good negotiating principles, but it was over land where the issue was whether or not native title existed. In Alice Springs, native title rights have been found by the courts over 133 parcels of land. The courts subsequently vested native title on the LhereArtepe Aboriginal Coiporation. There is no doubt that since 1992, land released in Alice Springs has not only been restricted, it effectively fell to zero while the courts sorted out native title issues. Governments of the day chose not to negotiate but to take a court-based legalistic approach. That decision meant that land released in Alice Springs fell to zero; the development and growth of the town was restricted; land sale prices became inflated; and house prices became very high. The new government decided early on that we would not continue this process, but work towards negotiated settlement of land matters. We began to actively engage Aboriginal native title owners in serious negotiations about the future growth of this town. In March this year, the government reached in-principle agreement with Lhere Artepe to enable the development to proceed. Lhere Artepe has agreed to the relinquish native title over land at Larapinta to allow for the development of a minimum of 60 residential allotments. The last part of the agreement - precise identification of the land to be developed - has been determined by an engineering report which is nearing completion, and by consultation with native title holders. The engineering report will also provide detail and cost for head works based on current and future lot yields. The subdivision will proceed over 20 hectares of land which has been assessed to exclude sacred sites and areas prone to soil erosion, or otherwise not 3935