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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




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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 government continues the work started by the CLP because that is what government is all about. Had they abandoned all those programs, they would have been more hypocritical and it would have been worse for us. But, if it is a good idea, does it matter who puts it up? Does it really matter? That is what I am saying to all of you in this parliament: think about this crime problem here in Alice Springs, stop this nonsense that has been going on, come up with some good ideas and, if it is a good idea, let us work together. It would be refreshing to hear that from the opposition at the moment, because this week I have sat here and listened to a lot of bagging, scaremongering and knocking of our town. What I would like to hear in the future is something positive, constructive and cooperative. Dr TOYNE (Central Australia): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, the last speaker - the Speaker speaker - has restored some of the balance in this debate. This has been a long-ranging debate since the Chief Minister placed the statement before the House. We have heard a lot of very disparate opinions and issues. I would like to start, though, by saying, as Minister for Central Australia, how wonderful this sittings in Alice Springs has been for me. We have seen all sorts of connections to our community down here: 3000-plus people around the galleries over the three days and all of the contacts between all of the members and the Alice Springs Central Australian community. That has to be good for the operation and traditions of this parliament. I hope in the future we might see some more sittings in Alice Springs. However, I will not go any further or I will give the Chief Minister a seizure. Regarding the claims that we have heard occasionally that this is not a real parliament - 1 just did a quick tally - seven bills have been introduced in three days, seven bills have been passed in three days. That is a significant amount of legislative change. We had the major statement by the Chief Minister which all members have been able to contribute to on a very wide platform. Anything that anyone wanted to say about Central Australian issues, there was the statement to allow that. We have had two censures, as weak as they may have been, but, again, some very important issues were embodied in those censures. Then we had the usual tabling statements and adjournments, so it has felt very normal to me, as a three day parliamentary sittings. We have not been short-changed in this parliament at all. I would like to keep above the individual issues to some degree, given that we are summing up this debate. I want to go back to a couple of comments that were made by the opposition. The Leader of the Opposition claimed that there was nothing in the budget for Alice Springs and then the member for Araluen, who has been in fine form over the last three days, said that the ALP never cared about Alice and never will. I would like to provide a few facts here that might dispel those outrageous statements. We brought the parliament to Alice, and that is not a bad start. This weeks announcements alone: $3m to commence sealing the Mereenie Loop Road; $2m for the Tanami Road upgrade; $2.2m for the Desert Knowledge precinct; up to $6.2m for the reuse of water out of the evaporation ponds; $86 000 to Footprints Forward, the indigenous employment program; $150 000 worth of crime prevention grants; upgrade of the security of the Alice Springs Gaol Cottage as was flagged and is now in progress; and $1.6m for the airconditioning o f Alice Springs High School. That is in three days. I do not think that is a sign of a government neglecting Central Australia. Before the parliamentary sittings, just to name a few of the initiatives that we have bought to Alice Springs: bringing Virgin Blue into Alice - and, again, I congratulate the Tourism Minister for finalising that; secured the release of the first new housing land in over a decade; supported and resourced Desert Knowledge Australia providing, $600 000 towards the Desert Peoples Centre; $750 000 over three years to the Desert Knowledge Australia Project Development; and $ 1.05m for the successful bid for the Desert Knowledge Australia CRC which will bring in something of the order of $92m over seven years - an enormous increase to our research and development effort here in Central Australia. There is $800 000 for the hocky field at Traeger Park - 1 call it the paddock, but it is a fantastic surface to play on, much better than the ones I saw in Melbourne recently. We opened the Office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner in Alice Springs which will also serve as a contact to the Ombudsman. The West MacDonnell National Park is an Alice Springs icon. We have opened up Owen Springs now for some activities, and we have put the West MacDonnell Ranges under reservation from occupation so they will not be mined. We are supporting the arts through provision of work space and studio space; a $839 000 capital assistance grant to the Ngaanyatjarra College for a new classroom at Yulara; the Tennant Creek renal unit has $2.1m of federal and NT government funds to support complementary measures against alcohol abuse in Alice Springs - and isnt that an important one? There are also the Cawood Court and Gillen House redevelopments. If that is the sign of a government that does not care about Central Australia and Alice Springs, I am not sure what you 3981