Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007
Parliamentary Record 12
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 Wednesday 14 February 2007 3843 support higher than reasonable wages outcomes and industrial action. That is beyond the pale. Madam Speaker, we have delivered four budget surpluses in a row. This year, we will have a working deficit, but we will return to balance in 2009-10. We will manage wages with a reasonable and fair outcome, with those key issues of recruitment and retention in mind, despite the clamour for trouble from the opposition. We have to, and we will, balance the needs of all groups in the Northern Territory so that we can continue economic growth and development while spending what is required to address social issues. Importantly, we will keep securing and supporting the Territory lifestyle. Motion agreed to; paper noted. MOTION Note Statement - Challenges for the Territory in 2007: Delivering the Territory Lifestyle Continued from 13 February 2007. Ms LAWRIE (Planning and Lands): Madam Speaker, I commend the Chief Minister on her statement. It is a very broad statement and it identifies the governments plan for action through 2007. I commend the Chief Minister for taking the opportunity on the first day of sittings for this year to let Territorians know the sort of work that we are very focused on delivering. It is extremely important to the social and economic health of the Territory that we focus on improvements within our regions. I commend the Chief Minister for her bold views on saying that regional economic development is a key focus. Creating more jobs and opportunities for Aboriginal Territorians underpins a lot of the efforts of this government. Those opportunities are right across the construction sector in the bush, as well as the health and social services sector, because there are tremendous opportunities for indigenous employment across those fields. We are able to focus on our regions because the Territory economy is in extremely good shape. We have just heard the Treasurer talking about his mid-year report. The economy is very strong in Darwin, we have enormous growth here. Everything I am hearing in Alice Springs as I visit is that business has picked up, boosted off the back of a strong tourism industry. We all know the mining potential for Central Australia as well. The statement demonstrates how the Territory, as a jurisdiction, is bucking national trends with significant rates of low unemployment, high rates of growth and a very strong construction industry. Of the many economic indicators that demonstrate the success of the Territory economy, there is one that I particularly like; that is, spending on recreational items has increased by 30%. That shows me that Territorians, through our strong economy, are in a much better position to enjoy our great Territory lifestyle. They are able to get out and enjoy the lifestyle that we hold very dear, and which is one of the key reasons we live here. Across my portfolios there are so many things planned this year, things that go right to the heart of improving the lives and wellbeing of Territorians. In my portfolio responsibility of Infrastructure, we have a capital works and infrastructure budget again at record level. We are delivering some $480m in cash into our capital works program. That sustains some 4400 direct jobs and many more indirectly. The construction industry is extremely solid. With around 250 dwellings built back in 2001; there are now over 1000 dwellings being built. It goes to the heart of a big basis to our building industry. It is great to travel around my electorate where a lot of subbies live. I can see that they are experiencing the benefits of the strong construction sector, themselves cashed up and building extensions on their family homes. The construction industry really does put money directly into the pockets of Territorians and Territory families. It is an exciting time for our construction industry. It has come off the back of significant reforms undertaken by the previous minister to put some accreditation and registration into the building industry. That is certainly giving people confidence in their spend on their residential home. In the area of transport, a key focus for 2007 will be the continuation of the implementation of our road safety reforms. That includes the introduction of a demerit scheme, which we are hoping to have introduced by the second half of this year. There is a great body of work that will be done across agencies, working together to produce the data and integrated systems that will be required for a demerit scheme. We are currently rolling out a program of baby capsules in our regional areas to support and underpin the fact that we have now made it illegal to carry a baby under the age of 12 months unrestrained, and there is a whole array of communication and curriculum tools that will be going out to raise public awareness. Of course, you cannot deliver strong road safety reforms without focusing on your road networks so road funding is a key area of work for the Territory government this year. I have a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister, Mark Vaile, the week following sittings when I will be talking to him about the importance
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