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 3853 The word is getting out there and now other Australians are learning that the Territory is a great place to live, stay and raise a family. That is only half the story. Even though the Martin Labor government has turned the Territory around since 2001 and ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity, this government is not resting on its laurels. As I said, we are leading the nation in economic prosperity. Business activity is at an all time record and our economy is strong, robust and growing, and most importantly, it is sustainable. We all know that a strong local economy benefits Territory families. That is what good governments are elected to do: deliver economic prosperity for the benefit of their constituents. The CLP, on the other hand, is bereft of ideas. All they can do is come up with new ways to try to talk down the economy. While everyone else knows the local economy is strong and healthy, the CLP are clearly living in the past, a drab and pessimistic past that they created. Interestingly, the Opposition Leader and the member for Greatorex went on radio last week and again started trying to talk down the economy. My goodness! What a fist full of wishy-washy, ill-informed diatribe that was. They tried to latch on to a spike in Darwins CPI for the 2006 year as evidence of inflation. What a joke! As someone who has a Masters degree in Economics, I can assure this House that any economist worth their salt will tell you that when you have a strong and growing economy, you need more workers and these workers need to be housed. This was highlighted by the Chief Minister when she said: Last week, the Northern Territory recorded an unemployment level of 2%, the lowest on record. Then she went on to proudly state: More Territorians are in work than ever before. This morning, I was looking through the CDU lifestyle survey and that shows that 36% of people who come to the Territory say they come here because of our great pay and our great work conditions. Well, that speaks volumes on the Territorys economy. Anyway, continuing my point, because these workers who are attracted to the Territory need to be housed, it creates a strong demand for housing and the law of supply and demand means that housing costs go up. Because of our size, the majority of our CPI is determined by our local housing demand. The 2006 CPI spike is temporary and it will ease as the current boost of new housing and unit developments currently being constructed come on to the market. Any Year 12 economics student can tell you that. Just for the record, the Martin Labor government, through its $50m subsidy of electricity and water plus $74m tax cuts so far, should be congratulated for responsibly putting additional downward pressure on inflation. Again, this government is on the ball at the helm of a healthy and strong economy. While our longer-term Territorians remember the bad old days of the CLP, there is now an emergent newer generation of Territorians and they, too, need to be assured that the Martin Labor government is at the helm of change and at the forefront of their expectations. This government is in tune with Territorians and their future as the Chief Ministers statement clearly showed. That is why our gross state production has seen an incredible growth rate of 7.5% driven by investment which, I am proud to say, has been attracted by the Martin Labor government. While investment has been the driver behind GSP growth, what is most important - and I stress this point - future GSP growth is forecast at 6.2% in 2006-07, but specifically on the back of outputs from the mining and energy sectors plus the economic cycle, is now moving to long-term sustainability based on production growth. We are entering exciting times which will benefit all Territorians. There is no better way for this government to ensure Territorians participate in this burgeoning sustainable and responsible growth than to devote attention to the training and education of Territorians. The Martin Labor government is absolutely committed to ensuring Territorians have the skills appropriate for the needs engendered by our sustainable economic growth. I was particularly pleased when the Chief Minister talked about how we are well ahead of our schedule to target 10 000 apprentices and trainees for 2008. With Jobs Plan 3, we will have a homegrown workforce trained on the basis of matching workforce skills with local industry needs. This is sustainable skills training at its best, and what I particularly like is that Jobs Plan 3 will target jobs in the bush. Palmerston and the rural area surrounding Darwin are acknowledged as the fastest growing areas in the Territory. New estate developments are rapidly being developed and released, particularly in the Humpty Doo and Herbert areas of my electorate of Goyder. Demand for rural blocks is strong as more and more families come to realise the intrinsic value of raising their children in the rural area. Affordable housing is important to all Territorians. I was very pleased to hear the Chief Minister proudly outline how Home Territory 2010 is providing great pathways for all Territorians to access safe and affordable housing. I am sure I did hear the Chief Minister correctly when she said that a massive $182m spread over 952 loans and shared equity
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