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 2638 measures had changed so dramatically. I understand some of the departments have changed and they have amalgamated in different areas, and I realise that is possibly why the performance measures have been changed. However, it did make it rather challenging to try to find the line items,. Naturally, estimates was drawn out a little further in some questioning because I was unable to find the line item I was looking for. Hopefully, next year the performance measures will be the same as this year, which will make it a lot easier. I also had the spine cut off my Budget Paper No 4 because it was such a thick, cumbersome darn thing and had holes put in it A member: Budget Paper No 3. Mrs MILLER: Budget Paper No 3, beg my pardon - and had it put in a two-ring binder. Could the Treasurer please consider next year having the Budget Paper No 3 put in a spiral binder; not necessarily for everybody, but members of the Legislative Assembly who are going to be reading and referring to it constantly. I doubt whether it is a huge cost factor but, gosh it will save us a lot of heartache. I encourage that and should have mentioned it before when I was replying to budgets. The questions I had this year, as my shadow portfolios naturally were a little on the limited side, meant it was a huge burden for my colleagues. All things considered, we have done darn well this week, and there has been a lot of hours and time put into the preparation. Despite the fact the member for Drysdale, I think it was, did not think we had done any preparation at all, we had done heaps of preparation. It was very noble of him to say all those wonderful things about what government does for the estimates process and how dreadful the opposition is in not being prepared, but I would like him to walk a little in our shoes ... Mr Stirling: He is a young pup. Mrs MILLER: and experience the challenges. I enjoy the challenges because it encourages us to check all portfolios, all departments and to listen to the outputs in all departments. I was a little disappointed, of course, that I did not get to ask any questions on Tourism and also in the area of Senior Territorians. Our senior Territorians are a very valuable group of people and I value them as I am sure my colleagues do. They do not have a very strong voice and this was one opportunity to be able to ask questions on behalf of senior Territorians. I am disappointed in that as well. As for my portfolio of Regional Development the issue for me that was really important in that area was to ensure that the regional development boards that are being set up will have some clout. The regional development boards are going to play a very important role in the areas where they have been set up in being able to encourage and promote development into those areas. I will speak particularly of the regional development board that will be set up to service the Katherine region. There has not been a lot of economic development. As a matter of fact, there has been practically zero economic development in that region for some time, for quite a few years now. That is a fact. You only have to look at the population to see that that is a fact. I believe the role of the regional development board is imperative for the development and the growth of the region, but it is not much good having a regional development board if they are not able to have some clout. By clout, I mean they need to be able to have the ear of the minister and to know that the work that they are putting in - which I believe is going to be mostly voluntarily and their opinions are valued and that they will be taken on board and there will be some action. The previous regional development authorities that we have had in Katherine seemed to be a non-event. They had meetings but they were never given, I believe, the respect for the time and the recommendations that they put forward. The people of the community and the region had very little input and also did not receive much information back. I encourage the minister to ensure that this regional development board that is being set up does have some authority and is able to make a difference to the regional areas. A couple of the things that I wanted to talk about actually cover Tourism, Transport and Infrastructure and Regional Development. I had a look at my reply last year to estimates on one of the areas that I addressed, and it was interesting because I could have almost said exactly the same thing again this year - just changed the date. I thought somebody would check up and say: Yes, well, she said that last year. It is almost the same. One of the things that I talked regarding tourism last year was the lack of airline services or passenger services into rural Northern Territory and to regional areas in the Northern Territory. One of the comments that the Chief Minister made during estimates last year was that business was booming in the Northern Territory and the airlines would come because business had grown so much. I can honestly assure the Chief Minister that that has not happened in Katherine and I do not think it has happened in Tennant Creek. It may have happened a little in Alice Springs, but I do not know if the airline passenger services have
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