Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003
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
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 employment groups the needs of those with autism in the workplace; organised two-day forums on autistic diagnosis and management; and have established contacts in key positions throughout the NT with persons in hospitals, Health departments, mental health areas, education and employment. All of these remarkable achievements have been accomplished without any funding from the NT or any other authority. I will take no other position than to applaud them and any other group such as that who simply do the job and stand in the gap and make a difference. I would recommend to the government that, if there is an opportunity to support this group, I urge you to meet with this support group and offer them any assistance that they might seek from you. I have had the good fortune to meet Steve Courbet who is the contact person and convenor of this group, who has been a resident of Alice springs since 1983. He works practically full-time to bring together this support group. He is a very humble man and passes off all the accomplishments and achievements of this group to the many volunteers who work behind the scenes. To those who are unnamed, I applaud you and thank you for the contribution you make to the area of autism support in Central Australia and the Northern Territory. It is brought to my attention that there are, to his knowledge at this point, 20 diagnosed cases of autism in Central Australia, with 60 to 80 in the Top End. In fact, that may actually be a significantly reduced number due to the condition being misunderstood. If we had greater education, there may be many people out there suffering with autism in their families, or children who may need the support. Mr AH KIT (Arnhem): Mr Deputy Speaker, tonight I pick up some of the issues that have been raised throughout the week. I will start with the member for Blain and the shadow minister for sport and recreation, who just spoke. We will deal with the sporting codes through their peak bodies. I have already requested and invited them to talk to Phillip Leslie who is my executive officer of Sport and Recreation, and to his staff, about how we as a government, and I as the minister, can provide support so that we still encourage people to come to the Northern Territory, and those who have registered to come from around the Territory, to participate in their chosen fields. We will not step away from that. We will assess, in a grant-type process manner, each and every claim that is put to us for that particular sport. We made it quite clear - quite clear - that the games that happen in each and every individual sporting code will not be under the official banner of the Arafura Games. When the member for Blain talks about the medals - and I noticed there was an article in the news where Alan McGill, the Town Clerk, Chief Executive Officer of the Darwin City Council, is calling for a refund. That is fine. That is fine if they need to obtain a refund for the medals that they sponsored. Maybe they are looking to provide those dollars to assist also the governments intention of trying to support those games so that people can come to the Territory and participate, not in the Arafura Games, but in competitions that they have trained so hard for. My staff have worked long and hard to ensure that we would have a successful Arafura Games. The viability was not possible. We had a lot of registrations but we did not have many confirmations from countries to our north. I am hoping that the United States contingent o f about 450 athletes will still come. I am also hoping that the 1800 registrations from around Australia will still come. We have, as a responsible government, offered assistance by way of vouchers so that they can come; they can fill the bedrooms up in the hotels and motels, enjoy themselves, take in a bit of a tourist cruise out to Kakadu or Litchfield National Park etcetera. We are doing everything - myself, the Chief Minister and also the Minister for Tourism - in how we can fill this void. We are certainly saying to countries from overseas, whether it is in South Africa, Malaysia, or the Philippines: If you wish to come, understand what we are saying because we really do want to bring back the Arafura Games in 2005, bigger and better than ever before. It was a disappointing decision, but it was a decision that a responsible government had to make. I will give that commitment to the member for Blain that we will assess on each occasion - this is not about sporting codes, through their peak bodies, making a grab for additional monies to help them. This is about assisting them in transport, security, if they need that, but other little ways that we can allow them to have some competition. We must remember that many, many athletes, whether it is swimming, track and field, basketball, netball, soccer, have put a lot of time and effort into peaking for the Arafura Games. Let me move on and assure the member for Macdonnell that, regrading Mrs Geraghty and her partner, I will give a commitment to work our way through the situation in respect of their position in the Carmichael Valley Estate. It is a position that they find untenable, and I understand that, but we 4005
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