Territory Stories

Questions Day 4 - Tuesday 28 October 2014



Questions Day 4 - Tuesday 28 October 2014

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Parliamentary Record 15


Questions for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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QUESTIONS Tuesday 28 October 2014 860 ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question. The Financial Management Act requires, where an overpayment has been made I do not accept the premise of the question that an employees pay and conditions the chief executive is required to recover this money. Some of these overpayments go back possibly 20 years. However, given the length of time involved in some of these errors, the time and effort involved in calculating the overpayment is considered Mr Wood: You could not go back 20 years, especially when it comes to donations. Ms Fyles interjecting. Mr STYLES: They ask a question, yet it appears they do not want the answer. What is the purpose of the question? Do you ask the question wanting an answer? If you want an answer I would like the opportunity to give it. In some cases these overpayments have gone for up to 20 years, in the worst case scenario. The effort and time involved in calculating these overpayments is considered to outweigh the benefit of recovering the funds, and therefore they are considered to have been we are writing to the Treasurer for approval to write these amounts off. My job as minister is to ensure the department spends taxpayers dollars wisely. However, in this case we will be applying to the Treasurer to have these funds written off. Had the Darwin Bus Service remained with the Department of Transport, the department would also have looked to implement changes to bring meal breaks, rostered days off and overtime payments back into line with the Northern Territory Public Sector Enterprise Agreement. For those listening, I will outline a number of issues discussed previously with regard to the Leader of the Opposition and her first question on this. If they have not had a briefing from their union mates they should probably get one. It is not only meal breaks, there are rostered days off. Drivers accrued a rostered day off on the basis of working a 40-hour week, for which they were paid 38 hours and accrued two hours per week towards their monthly rostered day off. The enterprise agreement states ordinary hours of work shall be 38 hours per week or an average of 38 hours per week over a cycle of four weeks. There is no reference to a requirement for a driver to work 40 hours, then accrue an RDO. However, two hours each week was going towards an accrued rostered day off. These benefits were brought in over time. There are others. I have a list of the added benefits not part of the enterprise bargaining agreement. We have decided, given the length of time, we will not be pursuing it Mr McCARTHY: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Will the member table the list of benefits? Madam SPEAKER: Minister, do you wish to table the list of benefits? Mr STYLES: I have already finished my answer to that question. Live Export Ban Impact on Families Mr HIGGINS to CHIEF MINISTER This morning news broke that the Brett family from Waterloo Station in the Territorys west have joined with other members of the cattle industry in launching legal proceedings over the former Labor governments devastating ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011. Can you outline the dire financial situation facing many cattle families when the Country Liberals came to government in 2012? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member of Daly for his question about what occurred in 2011. I remember speaking with the member for Daly before he was elected about some of the real issues in the Daly electorate in regard to the live cattle ban and what that meant for many families. I am surprised Labor has not asked a question about this today. I am not sure who their shadow spokesperson for primary industry is now the former member for Casuarina has gone. It is a serious issue and highlights what happened to those families who relied on the live cattle export trade for income. This means the Brett family from Waterloo station will be taking action against the Commonwealth for the decision that saw an enormous human toll of families in the Northern Territory clearly struggle to keep their businesses afloat. Never has a government decision been more catastrophic to the development of northern Australia than Labors former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Paul Henderson and the Leader of the Opposition, the member for Karama decision to stop a mainstay of rural, regional and remote industry in the Northern Territory and ban the live cattle trade. We know it was a federal decision made by the then Prime Minister and that the former Territory Labor government stood side by side, nodding their heads in agreement in Gove on the day the