Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975
Parliamentary Record 5
Northern Territory. Department of the Legislative Assembly
Debates for 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT; 1st Assembly 1974 - 1977
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
pages 457 - 498
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 taken of the kind of development envisaged in the Joint Parliamentary Committee's report and there is no allowance for the 19 executive staff members which I am supposedly in the final stages of reCl uiting. It may be argued that we do not need any more staff in the Northern Territory Public Service because a number of them will come by secondment from the Australian Public Service. But that is not necessarily true of these 19 staff positions which, with the Minister's approval, I have advertised and which I have interviewed people for. I am at the final stages of recruiting and I am still waiting for the creation of those positions finally and formally so that I can say to the people who have applied in good faith, "Would you accept such and such a position?" I now find that there is no financial provision whatever for those 19 positions in our budget or any extension of the growth of the Northern Territory Public Service. The excuse that many of them may be seconded and that there will not be any changes in the overall figures is not good enough. I say that this was an oversight in the estimates by the departments concerned who did not take this need into account and, if our Executive Member for Finance and Law had been involved in the estimates discussion, I believe that we would have had some provision sufficient for our recognised needs, for the expansion of the Northern Territory Public Service which will have to take place, even to a limited degree, if any progress is to be made on the Joint Parliamentary Committee's report. By contrast, we find that the staff of the Department of Northern Australia in Canberra will grow from 111 to 130 officers and, according to the explanatory note, only one of these officers will come from the former Department of Northern Development. Admittedly, some of the actual figures given may be transfers from up here but if that is so it only helps to confirm some of the fears that honourable members here have expressed in the past, that there is going to be a growth in the senior administrative staff in Canberra at the expense of the delegated authority in the decision-making process of the department in the Northern Territory. Mrs Lawrie: Hear, hear! Dr LETTS: That figure gives me cause for concern, particularly when it is matched against our own poor lamentable Northern Territory Public Service figure. I see that a growth is allowed in the Department of 467 Northern Australia's Constitutional Development Division from the present 2 officers to 4 officers so I doubt that we can expect much creative activity from that particular unit during the course of the coming year. I wouldn't lnind if those extra positions were being created here in the Territory for the implementation of the Joint Committee's report. Looking at the Legislative Assembly vote, with which questions of constitutional development and Assembly operations is connected, I find an allowance for public inquiries of $1,000. The Lottery and Gaming Ordinance inquiry which we have just approved will cost many times this figure, possibly $15,000 to $20,000. That makes no allowance for any other inquiries which this Assembly may see fit to set up in 1975-76. I know that it will probably be argued by the advisers that this is a notional figure; we find quite a few notional figures here, but it is notional at $1,000 when the real requirement for the coming financial year for this Assembly may be something closer to $50,000 and when the time comes that money has to be found by somebody. Turning now to the area of primary industries, the expenditure on primary industries is an example of an apparent gain which on closer examination turns out to be a net loss when compared with last year's figures. The Animal Industry and Agriculture Branch will receive $2,072,000, compared with an expenditure of$1,713,000 last year and an appropriation last year of $1,890,000. This indicates that the vote this year over the expenditure last year would be an increase of some $358,000. However, on the next pages the fine print tells us that fuels, freight costs and stock food, which were formerly a stock item not included in this vote, will now be charged against the operational vote of the branch at $84,000. The document is honest, if you have the time and take the trouble, and know where to look to find the answers. It also tells us that there will be increases in vehicle hire charges, air charter and wages which will amount to a further $230,000. When you add these figures together and make some allowance for other hidden cost rises, you find that the branch will in fact be worse off financially than it was last year. On top of this, I find that a large part of their vote is devoted to the brucellosis and TB eradication scheme with over half a million dollars being set aside for that purpose. I
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