Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 10 June 2009
Parliamentary Record 6
Debates for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Wednesday 10 June 2009 3167 Madam SPEAKER: Member for Drysdale, please pause. Those members who are having private conversations, lower your voices, please. Member for Port Darwin, I am asking those in conversation to lower their voices. I cannot hear the member for Drysdale. You have the call, member for Drysdale. Mr BOHLIN: You are wasting my time. Let us see if the government plans properly for the Palmerston area. Feel free and come and talk to us, because we are the elected members out there. We are not some placed and planted government employee - which we have seen in recent times who is being paid ridiculous money to represent this team. The offer stands: if there is an issue in Palmerston, this government has an open door to my office, which is the electorate office of the people of Drysdale. They have an open door where they can come and discuss it with me and those concerned residents of Palmerston at all times. Then we can plan properly because, at the moment, the lack of consultation, land release, the additional 24-hour ambulance service, a hospital, and planning is ridiculous. It is crazy to even believe they have their fingers on the pulse. I look forward to seeing this budget move. I look forward to seeing the results of the weeks that pass afterwards and to a very bright and prosperous 12 months. Mr STYLES (Sanderson): Madam Deputy Speaker, I heard members opposite describe this budget as a great budget for difficult times. It is so interesting, because I look at the current debt levels of every man, woman, and child in the Territory. In the last eight years, when we have experienced some of the best financial times in this country, the debt levels have risen for Territorians. However, on the federal scene, they actually went down to zero. What a great job the previous federal government did in relation to managing the budget federally, to the point where, when they left government in November 2007, there was a $23bn bank sitting around. We would be far better if we had that money still sitting there. However, given the current economic times that the world is experiencing, we would be worse off had that surplus not been there and the debt not been paid off. The Northern Territory government, since 2001, has had an unexpected windfall of around $1.2bn. It is interesting, when I hear the government saying how great it has been, and the money it has spent on this, that, and everything else. Of course, we all know that spending money does not necessarily get outcomes; money is an input as opposed to an output. However, I hear them say: We have spent this and we have spent that, and record spending, and we spend far more than the previous CLP did when it was in government. I suppose, with an extra $1.2bn in your back pocket, you can do many things and spend much money. You can increase the public service by almost 3000, you can keep employing people and keep racking up the debt. The last time I checked a number of years ago, we were up to about $16 000 per head, for each man, woman and child in the Territory. I note it is currently in excess of $20 000. There is not much being spent on some of the little things - at least I cannot find it in the budget. I would like to talk about a number of things that are not happening as a result of this budget; some of the things that perhaps could happen if the government looked at being equitable across the board in all electorates. The first issue I address is that of law and order in my electorate, and the youth in the northern suburbs. I will include the other electorates in the northern suburbs, because some of the members opposite who are from the northern suburbs have the same sort of problem with some of the youth issues. It is a major concern. The youth out there, basically, make up 18% of our population and they are 100% of our future. We are obliged to look after them, to give them direction, and help them get through some of those difficult years. This means we will need to have some youth programs. In fact, we will need quite a few youth programs to look after them and give them alternative things to do. Boredom is a great problem for young people. If they do not have anything to do, they simply sit around in parks, do graffiti, and smash things, simply for a little excitement. Young people, since time immemorial, have always been looking for a buzz, and it seems that is the very nature of youth and hormone fluctuations: they go out and they do silly things and get themselves into trouble sometimes. Sometimes they get caught, sometimes they do not. Some do a little, some do a lot. There are those out there who are looking for something alternative to do. As a community, it behoves us to actually supply some of those things, which might include drop-in centres. If one goes back in history - and I speak about the Top End and in the areas around my electorate - many years ago, we used to have a facility called the Red Cross Fire Escape. It was a great facility in the northern suburbs, run by some wonderful people who gave their time and their hearts but, unfortunately, were not prepared to have their cars scraped down the side with 20 pieces. The people who kept getting thrown out of these youth drop-in centres because of bad behaviour were not actually getting thrown out for
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