Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007

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Parliamentary Record 12


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 Wednesday 14 February 2007 3846 COAG, and the Territory government has had some significant discussions with the Commonwealth about how that new funding rolls out into places such as the Territory. We are unique; we cannot use the Medicare model of extension of mental health services across our regional and remote areas. We have been quite innovative in discussions with the federal government about improving our support and services to people with a mental illness. In relation to that, we will be amending our existing legislation, the Mental Health and Related Services Act, to provide a more contemporary regime to underpin the support that we give to people with a mental illness. I will continue to work with the aged care sector, both as minister for aged within Family and Community Services, but also as minister for Planning, to look at how we can meet the needs of our ageing population. More and more Territorians are retiring here, just as Territorians are now bringing their aged relatives up from down south to retire here. We know we have an increasing demand on our aged system. My agency has been working very closely with aged care providers throughout Australia to talk to them about the benefits of operating in the Top End, and we have quite a few very interested aged care providers lining up to look at potential land sites around the Top End for aged care facilities. In Multicultural Affairs, our focus will be to continue to challenge the Howard government not to walk away from multiculturalism, but to support it. Tragically, the Howard government has decided that multiculturalism does not work. We strongly disagree. I have been representing the multicultural groups in saying that very clearly to the federal government ... Dr BURNS: Madam Speaker, I move an extension of 10 minutes in order that the minister may conclude her remarks, pursuant to Standing Order 77. Motion agreed to. Ms LAWRIE: I thank my colleagues for the extension of time. Within Multicultural Affairs, we have a very vibrant community. Our multicultural lifestyle in the Top End is one that we celebrate and encourage. We celebrate it through our wonderful festivals, which we will again be enjoying this year, whether it is our Glenti, the Barrio Fiesta or India at Mindil. We are also knocking on the door of the Chinese New Year festivals at the moment. They are all ways in which we can promote multiculturalism and celebrate the diversity of our society. As Multicultural Affairs Minister, I look forward to attending those festivals and supporting our multicultural organisations through our grants regime. We have a record grants program for cultural events, and grants for facilities to improve the homes of multicultural groups. For example, the Kalymnian Hall at Batten Road will be receiving an improved car park as a result of significant government funding. The Islamic Society in Vanderlin Drive will, hopefully, finally realise their dream of a community hall extension on the site of their mosque, including a very important wash down facility for their deceased, which is a very important part of the Islamic faith. There is a very tangible way in which, through our grants, we can support our multicultural groups. We have the exciting project occurring at the Chung Wah Society with their main hall extension as well as their significant upgrade to the library area. I am looking forward to the opening of those facilities as well. All in all, 2007 is a very strong year. We have strong growth supporting the work. The strong growth is not by accident; there have been years of strong financial management by the Martin Labor government which has put us in a position to be able to work solidly on providing economic improvements, construction, infrastructure improvements, improving our transport system, providing opportunities for jobs, encouraging employment in our regions, and underpinning improvements to our social service delivery that support disadvantaged Territorians, whether they be Territorians with a disability, aged Territorians or Territorians with a range of alcohol and drug problems. Mental illness, for example, is something for which we will see significant service increases this coming year. It is a very busy year, one in which we cannot achieve success without the hard work of all of the people who work for the public service. I thank the people in my agencies; they do a fantastic job. I enjoy the privilege of working with them. I look forward to implementing a range of key action plans right across 2007 that will continue to improve a fantastic Territory lifestyle that we have, and support the health and wellbeing of the Territory, both in an economic and social sense. Mr NATT (Primary Industry and Fisheries): Madam Speaker, I support the priorities outlined by the Chief Minister and advise the House about some of the projects under way within our Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Mines that support those outlined by the Chief Minister. The continued progress in lifestyle of Territory residents is made possible largely by the buoyant economy and that, in no small part, is due to the solid proactive work being undertaken within my department. Mining accounts for 20% of the Territorys GSP and is our largest single economic