Debates Day 4 - Friday 23 June 2006
Parliamentary Record 8
Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Friday 23 June 2006 2635 congratulate the government for doing it, but they stuffed up and they need to fix it. My last little thing is on the EPA. I know that the minister thinks that I cannot understand what all this fuss is about. She said recently that she had tabled a diagram to show me exactly what it was all about because she thought If you cannot understand what is written, I will send you a diagram. That is what you do for primary school students. So I thought as a primary school student I would actually write a poem as a primary student. With all apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber and to the people of Argentina Mr Kiely: And us. Mr WOOD: And others, yes, thank you. This is the long lost verse. It is: Dont cry for me NRETA, the truth is I am not confused, you kept your promise an EPA, or is it two? I am now confused, Ill ring your office, Thank you. Mr Kiely: No wonder you got into politics, you cannot sing. Mr Wood: I cannot beat Jack Ah Kit. Dr LIM: Mr Acting Chairman, this is the fifth Estimates Committee we have had now, and one starts to get a little immune to the whole system. You know you are going to be there for three or four days solid from 8.30 am right through to 11.30 pm. We just keep on going. In fact, last night I was here until about 1 am working on the papers before I settled for the night. There are, obviously, many issues that have been identified during the last four days, and the starkest issue was this government has wasted a lot of money. It has wasted a lot of money. I do not know where it has gone. Look through the budget books at the output areas and the performance measures. The performance measures are not meeting what this government has set itself to do. That is been the concern. When it does not meet the targets and still requires a lot of money to fund the programs, something is radically wrong. The only conclusion I can come to is that this government has not been able to manage - just does not know how to manage a budget. Any householder would say to you that, if you have a fixed amount of money coming in you have to live within your means. If there is an extra windfall then you use the windfall to retire any debt that you have because putting it away into recurrent just burns it all up and you have nothing to show for it. Unfortunately, that is what has happened. You have nothing to show for it. I will come to specific examples in a little while. It is just not good enough that the government has so much money that it is just allowed to throw it around willy-nilly. At the end of the day, there has been no significant extra infrastructure provided by this government in the last five years. I suspect that a lot of the money is going into the waterfront development. It is hard to track the money and I commend the government for being able to hide it so well. Normally, once in an estimates process, you can ferret around the path where money gets channelled through and identify clearly how the money is spent. However, it has been very difficult to follow where the money has gone. The other identifiable cause of funds going out of the budget is the inordinate number of staff that this government has put on in the public service - an inordinate number. In five short years, they have increased this public service by some 3000. It is just unbelievable numbers. While there is no infrastructure being created in the Territory with all this money, the public service has grown. You wonder what they are doing. Over the next few years, I am sure we will start to inquire even more into the governments method of spending the Territorys money. In regard to some of the specifics, one of the things that is close to my heart, and that I believe the Clerk would like me to mention, is about the very great need to re-cable this building with the latest technology so that our communication system does not fall over. Without a doubt, the token ring system which was, essentially, leading-edge technology when this building was designed, was starting to lag behind technology when this building was constructed. Twelve years later, this technology is definitely dated, and elements of the circuitry within this building are falling over on a regular basis. Government must provide sufficient funding to ensure that the cabling is done properly, and then we will at least have a system that will last us into the future. When the Chief Minister was interrogated by the Estimates Committee - first of all she carried very little portfolios of significance, apart from that of the Chief Minister. When you look at her responses and the global figures that she provided during her responses, this government is, no doubt, into micromanaging. Micromanaging what? Not government, but micromanaging their own image. That is what they are micromanaging, to ensure that they will always appear to be very presentable and re-electable, while the rest of the Territory goes to wrack and ruin. It does not matter, as long as they can micromanage itself to be re-elected the next time. I hope Territorians are
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