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 3851 There was debate on land availability in Question Time today. I would not like to be a first home buyer now. The price of land that is available is far too high. Building costs have gone up and it must be very difficult for young people who want to buy their first residence. It is unfortunate that in Alice Springs, the release of land at Larapinta Stage 3 has been stalled for many reasons, not least of which is that developers feel that the cost of developing the land will be too great and the blocks will be out of the range of most people. Even if the government puts aside six first home buyer blocks, that is not enough to cater for demand. I must comment on something the Treasurer said in his response yesterday. The member for Nelson pointed this out. The Treasurer was responding to comments by either the Leader of the Opposition or the member for Katherine: She touched on that question of housing affordability. Over that five years, we were the most affordable in the whole of Australia to buy a house, and we are second on the list for home affordability to the ACT. I would have thought that would be a temporary thing and we will soon be back in the most affordable bracket. She actually made a comment that we are the most impossible place to buy a house in Australia. In fact, just by a narrow margin, we are the second best place in Australia for home affordability. Well, the survey says, and I will quote from it so we do not get it wrong: Darwin has been rated among the 40 least affordable cities in the world to buy a house. This was a survey by Wendell Cox Consultancy, and was quoted on ABC News Online on 22 January. It ranks property prices in Darwin the seventh least affordable in Australia. If that does not clearly demonstrate that it is difficult for first home buyers to establish themselves in the Territory, I do not know what else you need. Somehow or other, we should be promoting more home buyers, whether they are first or second home buyers; we need to make sure that people take on the Territory and stay here, that they make this their home and adopt this great lifestyle we keep hearing about. The Chief Minister should have addressed the issue of affordability of homes more than she did. We have had a lot of debate about the police over the last 24 hours. All I can say is the police in Alice Springs do a great job with the resources they have. It is pretty well known that in a place like Alice, you burn out after about five years, and that is why we have a high turnover. That is probably not uncommon elsewhere in the Territory, too. To retain these people, we have to make their task more satisfactory. One of the things we need to do is to stop knocking the police and appreciate them more. I say to all members: remember that they are the ones who have to enforce the laws that we make. If we make more and more laws for them to enforce, then that is their problem, not ours. It is easy for us to make lots of laws, but if the demands on the police go up and up and up, that is a reflection on us as much as on them. If we have a dry town in Alice Springs, all I can see happening is that we are asking the police to do more and more when, in fact, people should start taking responsibility for their own actions: stop doing the things they do, stop making our town look bad, be a good citizen, be a good resident of the Territory, and do not expect the police to always be chasing them. We are going to have a debate on local government and the development of shires. There are lots of questions about that. I have already had an approach by a couple of people from remote communities who are concerned about being swallowed into a huge conglomerate. To date, because there is no detail of what is going to happen, they are worried that because they are a good council, they may be disadvantaged and have to wear the not-so-good councils, that they may lose control and autonomy. It is a real fear in the bush because people do not really know what is going on. I have difficulty with the government agreeing with such large shires. When you look at the member for Barkly, these shires are geographically huge, and I worry that perhaps they are so vast and so remote, some of the little ones or those on borders will be forgotten. We will all be looking very closely at the amalgamation and the formation of new shires. There has to be a lot of work done to convince people that this is a good thing because, at the moment, they do not know what they are in for. There have been some people who have worked very hard in communities to make them work, and the last thing we want to do is to disadvantage them in any way. When we talk about lifestyle, one thing that is good about the Territory is the number of sports we promote. When you look at a town like Alice Springs, you see the sporting facilities you have for a town of 26 000, you have to say: Wow, this is tremendous! We have great things that come out of small towns like this - great people, great sports, great ventures - and we should be talking it up. Sometimes it worries me that we talk up the negatives and we forget to talk up the positives. We talk about the bad things, but we forget about