Territory Stories

Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 19 March 2014



Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 19 March 2014

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Parliamentary Record 11


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




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QUESTIONS Wednesday 19 March 2014 624 Alice Springs New Supreme Court Mr HIGGINS to CHIEF MINISTER Can you update the House on the governments plans for a new Supreme Court in Alice Springs as part of the towns new justice precinct? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Daly and the Attorney-General - minister for Corrections - for his involvement in this exciting initiative in Central Australia. We are all excited, not just about the new Supreme Court, but what it means for the local economy. We will soon be leasing two new Supreme Court rooms in the towns developing justice precinct, something initialised by the member for Araluen. We recognise the Alice Springs community requires additional court rooms, not to meet growing demand, but to meet demand which has been there for a long period of time and outdated facilities. We now have the opportunity to balance this need by stimulating private sector developers to supply these facilities in the town. The existing Supreme Court building will be repurposed for exclusive use by the Magistrates Court. The Supreme Court will then be moved elsewhere, doubling in size from one court to two with stateof-the-art facilities. Instead of the government building a new Supreme Court, we want to facilitate private sector development and get the private economy moving, rather than just government economy. We have decided to rent the space for the new courts from a developer via a long-term lease. It is anticipated the promise of a long-term foundation tenant will encourage a private developer to proceed with the significant new building project in the Alice Springs justice precinct. The government anticipates the court could share a larger private building with other tenants, facilitating the provision of additional development in Central Australia. We have been in talks with the legal fraternity about their needs at this new facility and we think there might be opportunity to partner up with those guys. I am pleased to inform the Assembly the project will go out to tender next week, providing new stimulus to the local economy. It is more evidence of our commitment to all areas of the Northern Territory, in this example Central Australia, in sharp contrast to the former Labor governments fly-in fly-out approach to Central Australia, where the only economic stimulus was responding to crime and law and order. We are seeing stimulation right through the private sector from many different areas. We look forward to rebuilding our tourism sector, ensuring we work with the business sector and ensure it is not run only by government, but working in many different areas. This comes on the back of one of the new developments the government was working with last week: the start of an $8.6m housing development on Larapinta Drive, which will see the construction of 25 new units. This is a further sign the private sector economy is starting to take over from where the government economy was left languishing, driving everything in the past. Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Imprisoning Pregnant Women Ms MANISON to MINISTER for HEALTH We all agree foetal alcohol spectrum disorder is a serious issue in the Territory. We do not agree locking up pregnant mums is the way to deal with a significant health issue. How does locking up a pregnant woman help deal with her alcohol issues? What happens to any other children she may have? Do you agree with your colleague the Attorney-General, who says he is looking at restraining Territory women who drink while pregnant? Why is your approach to FASD all about locking them up? ANSWER Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Wanguri for her question. The Attorney-General raised this issue last week, the idea of having a mechanism in place to prevent pregnant women drinking excessively, potentially harming the unborn child and the child ending up with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Foetal alcohol spectrum disorder is 100% preventable, but, having said that, it is not particularly easy to address. The Attorney-General was putting it out there as a possibility, an approach to addressing what will be a huge issue in the future. Already, we have people with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder in our system and it is on the public record Roseanne Fulton is one such woman who is afflicted with this very disabling condition. It is very serious. I have not settled on any particular position when it comes to what the Attorney-General put forward to the community last week. We have not had that discussion and we have not had that debate within Cabinet. I share concerns about locking up women who are pregnant. It does not sit very well with me, but I have concerns about an unborn child being poisoned and inflicted with foetal alcohol syndrome for the rest of its life. It is a dilemma, and it is a debate I look forward to having. My team within Health will be teasing it out so we have some clarity, some information and some research done on whether this happens elsewhere. I do not know.