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 862 Mr GILES: We are already seeing downward pressure placed on fuel prices. There has been a response to the significant increase in house and unit prices in the Northern Territory with the release of 5000 blocks of land. There are 6500 blocks of land being prepared through a $130m commitment in the budget; this is driving down cost of living pressures in the Northern Territory. We now face looming cost of living increases through TIO premiums and its alternate risk-based approach. We need to provide a response to create a competitive environment to stop that occurring, as significant as it is. We are starting to see more cost realisations in power prices in the Northern Territory. We still do not charge what it costs to create the power; we still subsidise Power and Water by about $77m per annum, so it is not operating on a cost recovery model. We need to continue trying to reach a model of cost recovery. It is a challenge, and we are working towards that. In regard to Madam SPEAKER: Chief Minister, your time has expired. Live Export Ban Impact on Pastoralists Mr KURRUPUWU to MINISTER for PRIMARY INDUSTRY and FISHERIES Yesterday, the Brett Cattle Company and other industry members launched legal proceedings over the human and financial impact of the federal governments ban on live exports to Indonesia in 2011. What was the impact on the ground for Northern Territory pastoralists during the 2011 live export ban? ANSWER: Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his question. Yesterday was the start of a process whereby the chickens are coming home to roost for former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and former Agriculture minister, Joe Ludwig. The live cattle ban was one of the most disastrous decisions ever made by a government. It brought shame and disgrace on all governments of Australia. It was a reprehensible act, which caused enormous damage. The decision was all about was pandering to the east coast democracy and took no account of the impact it would have in the Northern Territory. This decision put international relations at risk, subjected the population of Indonesia to a food security risk, tarnished the hard work of many Australians and, overnight, shut down an industry that is planned years in advance. On the ground in the Territory the impact of the decision caused depression and pain to run through every vein of the industry. Within weeks of the shock announcement property values plummeted; the Office of the Valuer-General reduced the value of the pastoral estate in the Northern Territory by almost 50%. We went from a pre-ban value of $1.5bn to about $800m. Within weeks of the ban properties were on the market some were old Territory pastoral families who could no longer bear the brunt of poor and weak government decisions made by Canberra. The toll on our pastoralists and their associated businesses was incredible. Within days I visited a company in Katherine called Northern Feed & Cube. Every order they had for stock feed to go overseas on the cattle boats was wiped off the board as a result of Joe Ludwig and former Prime Minister Julia Gillards lame decision. Cattle were trucked thousands of kilometres between properties, agistment blocks and saleyards, resulting in great cost and financial losses. This was truly one of the worst decisions ever made by a government. My sympathies have always gone out to cattle producers over this horrendous decision. I will continue to do everything I can I know I am supported by my colleagues to grow the cattle industry in the Northern Territory. I support this action to bring former Prime Minister Julia Gillard and former Agriculture minister Joe Ludwig to account for the decision they made in 2011, ably, I might add, supported by the then Northern Territory Labor government shame! Power and Water Street Lighting Charges to Councils Mr WOOD to MINISTER for LOCAL GOVERNMENT and REGIONS As you know, Power and Water is trying to move substantial cost on to local government by charging for street lighting, both for maintenance and replacement of infrastructure. During the recent estimates hearing, I said to Mr Clarke, the CEO of Power and Water: Mr Clarke, your role, which is stated in your corporations objectives, is to operate at least as efficiently as any other comparable business. We have services within council municipalities. Would you be willing to pay commercial rates for your facilities to help council offset the costs you want them to pay? Mr Clarke said: you had better refer that matter to government.