Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - Friday 23 June 2006



Debates Day 4 - Friday 23 June 2006

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Parliamentary Record 8


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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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 Friday 23 June 2006 2633 Mr NATT: I would have thought there would have been more Mr ACTING CHAIRMAN: Member for Greatorex, please! Mr NATT: would have been commonsense and more economic to have questions put on notice and to have backed off their repetitious queries and, perhaps, seek a briefing with the ministers department. This would save time during the hearings, bring opposition members up to speed with the information they require and, obviously, allow questions to be asked in other outputs that either missed out or were glossed over lightly. I guess commonsense does not come into reality when you are plainly focused on attacking members and not examining the budget. I felt the debates, on many occasions, were based on the politics of the budget and point scoring, and not the qualities and the contents of the budget. It was clearly noted and stated at times by the Independent members that they sought briefings on several items, and I commend them for their foresight. I honestly feel the opposition went into this process with their negative thoughts right from the outset. My thoughts are supported by several comments by opposition committee members at our PAC meetings and statements made during the last sittings. They felt the hearings did not allow enough time for each portfolio, thought the process was flawed, firmly believed in their minds that the system would not work and, thus, set out on occasions to run down the clock to support their negative feelings. I see this procedure as an efficient and a very effective tool for opposition to review the governments workings and its budget structure, and the Leader of the Opposition should think a little more strategically and focus on the questions of value. In saying all of this, I do, however, congratulate the opposition for their efforts and acknowledge that it would not be easy to spread responsibilities amongst such a small group. Also, I would like to acknowledge the two Independent members and thank them for their input, patience and tolerance. Congratulations must go to the ministers and their staff for the preparatory work leading up to the estimates week and, of course, the work they have done on the budget preparation. I feel that the wellbeing of Territorians is assured with the improving economic and social trends stemming from the processes applied within the budget by this government. To my fellow committee members and party colleagues who supported the committee throughout the proceedings, well done. It was a tiring week and you hung in there well. I know that the public servants have put in an enormous amount of time preparing in each of the outputs. I have spoken with a few over the last couple of weeks and they have stated that they were looking forward to the weeks ending, because they had put in some long hours to bring the information up to speed for the inquiry. I thank them for their diligence and professionalism and urge them to keep up the good work. The hard-working Assembly and Hansard staff have done a wonderful job throughout the week to ensure the debate and investigation of the governments budget, through the estimates process, went without a hitch. Well done to them all. Well done to our illustrious Chairman and Deputy Chairman, under the circumstances. The tests that were put before you, you handled well and fairly. To sit through such long sessions and maintain concentration and a calm head and hear the situation is a trial in itself, but you both handled it exceptionally well and you are to be commended for your efforts. In summing up, there is some fantastic work being done out there by this government under very difficult circumstances, and there are better things coming. Sure, things do go wrong from time to time and, of all people, opposition members should realise this. Quite rightly, they have every right to question proceedings. That level of interrogation is welcome. I would like to say, however, this is a public hearing, and a procedure to inform public servants, members of government and the wider community, of government expenditure. As soon as the opposition members realise the estimates procedure is to scrutinise appropriation expenditure, and not a court of law, or a game of character assassination, the better the hearings will run. Mr WOOD: Mr Acting Chairman, first of all, because I always forget, I would like to thank all of the staff and the people who helped run the Estimates Committee. It certainly takes a lot of organisation, and a lot of time. I thank all staff in general. I would just like to say a few things about the operations of the estimates. I did mention this before the estimates started, but I would just like to repeat it. There certainly needs to be some consideration of some departments waiting; in particular, the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, as it is a big department and it has a

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