Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 19 October 2016

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Parliamentary Record 1


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 65 to 124


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 19 October 2016 84 is really important. Another focus of this is making sure we break down the silos of government agencies to ensure they are working together strategically and effectively. Our work to deliver the strategic plan will consider existing programs and new initiatives around the areas of antenatal and maternity services; nurse-led home visiting programs; intensive parenting support; community health services; integrated child and family centres; and the fabulous Families as First Teachers program, which has demonstrated the bipartisan support it received from the CLP government and the Labor government before that, which introduced it. It was lovely to hear the new member for Drysdale speaking about her involvement in and passion for that very important Families a First Teachers program. We will also be looking at working to support vulnerable familiesand the workforce planning that is required to deliver these high-quality services. We know there is no short-term solution. This is not a policy just for this political cycle. We will not see the full benefit of it in this term of government. We heard the Chief Minister speaking about that yesterday. This will take a number of governments to see the full effect. It will take time, but we must be patient, focused, determined and strategic. We must push forward and do everything we can to make a difference for our children and the future of the Northern Territory. It is worth it. An early childhood subcommittee of Cabinet has been established, which I will lead in partnership with my ministerial colleagues. The Ministers for Health, Housing and Community Development, Education and Territory Families and I will will work together in this very important area. The Department of the Chief Minister is the Northern Territorys key central agency with broad oversight across all government policies and programs. It will be responsible for coordinating the development of the plan. As I said before, it is about ensuring we have government agencies working together in partnership in this critical space. We want non-government organisations to be full partners and an integral part of the delivery of change for children. We will establish mechanisms that bind non-government and government sectors closely together to work on this plan. We will establish an early childhood reference panel made up of members of nongovernment organisations, specialists and experts who will oversee the development of this plan. We will establish a working group and have experts, particularly those from NGOs, working day to day, delivering important programs across the Northern Territory. Territory and Australian government public servants will be working together to build the plan and ensure we see the implementation. It is nice to have plans, but what is really important is the implementation of them, to make sure that work and strategic thinking results in outcomes. That is what we are dedicated to doing. We recognise that place-based and local solutions are the only way to go and the only way we will make this plan work. We are committed to ensuring communities play an integral role in the development of this plan and its implementation, and the ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Investing in kids in the early years is not just the right thing to do for Territorians, it is the smart thing to do, and I am looking to the work we will do in this space. At the end of this term of government, we will be judging ourselves on the difference we made in that space. What difference did we make for children in those early years of their life to improve their outcomes going forward? We must change. If we are to make those changes we so desperately need to see in our education systemmore kids at school and finishing school so they have more opportunities ahead of them in life. We need to get this right. We have many experts on the ground, working in this space already. We are looking forward to continuing to work with them and seeing what difference we can all make together. I will now turn to the Treasury portfolio to outline the fiscal and economic position we inherited on coming into office, and the challenges we face in bringing the Budget back to surplus and driving the Territory economy forward. Looking at the fiscal position it is no secret that the Pre-Election Fiscal Outlook document produced by Treasury highlights ongoing deficits and rising debt. The fiscal deficit is projected to peak at $876m in 2016-17 and not return to a balanced position until 2019-20. The addition of net debt is set to rise from $1.85bn to $3.1bn over the forward years. These worsening fiscal projections are supported by the recent downgrade by Moodys of the Territorys credit rating from double Aa1-negative to double Aa2-stable. That was due to the weakening financial position, the result of increased government spending and continuing issues with the financial performance of the Power and Water Corporation, which we heard so much about from the previous government and which drove their structural separation agenda. Following on from their structural separation agenda they managed to structurally separate the Power and Water Corporation, but that is not without its issues. We

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