Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 Madam SPEAKER: Member for Greatorex, you realise that you must be accurate in what you say. Members of government may call points of order on disputed facts, but can also do it by way of personal explanation. Let us let the member for Greatorex get on with his speech. Dr LEM: Madam Speaker, I stand by what I said. Much of this money that has been spent in Central Australia by the government is, indeed, from recurrent funding. Mr VATSKALIS: A point o f order, Madam Speaker! He is misleading the parliament again. It is not recurrent funding and I am prepared to table a document outlining how much money was spent one-off. Madam SPEAKER: Minister, if you want to censure the member for Greatorex for misleading the House, you may do so. Otherwise, you will have your opportunity to speak. Dr LEM: If I can come back the Traeger Park hockey oval, the money was already committed by the previous CLP government, so it is not something that the Labor government initiated. I say to the Chief Minister again that if, as she claims, Central Australia is important to her, then she had best fund it accordingly. I look forward to her coming budget and the appropriate allocation of much needed funds for the Centre. Alice Springs workers and businesses have survived these past two years despite the Labor government. Just like the Arremte people of this land, who were here before us all, we in Alice Springs have leamt to survive the difficult conditions of the region, labouring without the assistance of government that the people of Darwin so much enjoy. In the Chief Ministers own words: We have grown up in a culture of self-reliance, moreso in the last two years. I draw your attention to the Chief Ministers brief comment about the Finke Desert Race, but also the fact that she neglected to tell us about her governments intention for the motor sports fraternity in Alice Springs. For almost two years now, members of the Central Australian Drag Racing Association have lobbied the government for a home for their sport. For two years, it had no response. CADRA members had a rally outside the Office of Central Australia looking for a response from government, yet nothing came of it. CADRA is now without a home; they are no longer able to use the unused runway at the airport for their drag strip. I ask the Chief Minister: what does a group in Alice Springs have to do to get some response from you or your Alice Springs office or, indeed, from your Alice Springs minister? Members of CADRA are in the Chamber waiting for a response. The Chief Minister, in her statement, said that her government was refocussing health on the delivery o f quality services. What a laugh! It would be hilarious were it no so disastrous. The excellent services of the Alice Springs Hospital have been eroded by the mismanagement of this governments inept Health minister. I am astounded that the Chief Minister had the temerity to say that her Health minister is delivering quality health. The Alice Springs Hospital had a full complement of three physiotherapists; it now has one who took ill last week - probably from overwork. I hope she has the energy and health to carry on her good work when she returns. We were promised that the two unfilled positions would be advertised immediately, but we now find that the advertisements are on hold. The workload for lone physiotherapist is excessive, so much so that she can only devote one hour a day of her time to intensive care patients. For the rest of the 24 hours, nurses have to perform the best they can. Checking the wards, orthopaedic and general surgical patients are now not getting much help to be rehabilitated. One physiotherapist cannot cope with a 160-bed hospital. Meanwhile, the Royal Darwin Hospital recently lost two physiotherapists and we have seen advertisements for them. We have also seen advertisements for more nursing staff at Royal Darwin Hospital. I note the minister for Health furrows her brow; she does not even know that she has lost two physiotherapists. Royal Darwin Hospital was recendy advertising for nurses whereas there has been no advertising for nurses in Alice Springs. Mrs AAGAARD: A point of order, Madam Speaker! This is supposed to be a statement in relation to Alice Springs and the member is talking about Royal Darwin Hospital and staffing matters there. I know there is a fair bit of leeway in these speeches, but that is just ridiculous. Madam SPEAKER: No, there is no point of order. We have been far-reaching in all our responses to this ministers statement. I suggest to members of government that you allow the member for Greatorex to finish his speech. If you have any concern, you could always raise it when one o f your members reply. Dr LEM: I mentioned the two physiotherapist positions and the nurse positions that have been advertised in Darwin. I mention those for a specific Alice Springs reason, and that is: there are no advertisements for any of these necessary professionals in Alice Springs. Therefore, I ask the 3959
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