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
474 the Northern Territory. We see in this document that there is a statement that capital subsidies to the Corporation of Darwin are estimated to cost an additional $88,000. We had a cyclone. Naturally, when you knock the place out in December and it normally does 70% of its work in the following year, it did not get round to spending its capital subsidies in the normal financial year. Sure, it spent a bit more, but last year they had approval for a subsidy of $580,000 and they spent nowhere like this. This year, they have allowed a capital subsidy of$225,000 and they say that is an increase of$88,000.It's damn well a decrease of $350,000 in the operational subsidy to local government in this particular town. There is obviously no relationship between what local government in Darwin asked for and the grants it got. I am informed that this year the corporation sought a program subsidy of some $300,000 to cover its normal works and programs. It put in a request for additional restoration programs also of some $300,000, additional building requirements to re-instate the Civic Centre, the cost in addition to what they are going to get out of insurance and the other works projects throughout the city that have to be re-instated and are not covered by insurance. What do they get? $225,000. Marvellous! We have been given money at a lower rate in an inflationary period and they are wanting to knock it down all the time. The operational subsidy for local government in Darwin has been traditionally based on a quinquennial review. Local government in the Territory has been screaming about it for years as being a totally inadequate and a totally inappropriate system. It is meant to provide the difference in operating costs between a corporation in the Territory to a corporation of similar size in a southern state but, if you are only going to review it each 5 years, it is going to take you 5 years, with this sort of inflationary trend, to ever catch up. What a terribly wrong form of calculation. Add to that, this year's peculiar problems of local government in Darwin and all the additional operational requirements that have been needed. Did they get any form of suitable assistance? Nothing doing. It stuck at the same particular figure. Similarly, my argument about the rates problem of this town-67% of the leases in this town prior to Tracy were privately owned. We have heard in the debates and in the questions in this House in the last few days that some 1600 blocks are in the DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 process of being offered back to the government and, even given the dreadful forewarnings of the DURD vote in the Budget where they have only $2,000,000 instead of $20,000,000 to pay for them, who is going to pay the rates for those 1,000 blocks of land that are going to come back into the public sector? Somebody really has not done his homework; they have not appraised the principle of what local government should be. Obviously they are going to turn around to local government and say "You have the facilities to raise loans". We saw elsewhere in the Budget papers that local government could raise some $900,000 by way of loans. That is just the indicative proposal of what they could do it they wanted to go to the private sector. Obviously this government is trying to pass on that responsibility and force them out into dear rates of interest and borrowing in order to meet these types of problems. Let us look at the provisions for the Museums and Art Galleries Board where they granted a $50,000 increase in appropriation. The previous year it was $300,000; this year $350,000. It is simply recurrent expenditure; again there is no level of contribution or allowance for progress. What about the new building for the museum? We are all aware that that was a very historic and a very beautiful building. It got wiped out. I am informed that the Museum and Art Galleries Board has not even had its submission acknowledged by the DRC, let alone emerge anywhere on a civil works program or a budget item. What about Alice Springs? The museum has for some time been trying to establish facilities in that place. Did they get any recognition for it? It was in their budget estimates. Obviously we have a tremendous need to preserve the art and historic factors of this particular place. The Museums and the Art Galleries Board asked for $1.1m to purchase collections. What did they get? Nothing; we get some blind statement: "Pending a report to the government by a committee of inquiry on the museums and national collections". That committee of inquiry has no relevance to the Museums and the Art Galleries Board of the Northern Territory. That board is structured under an ordinance of this Assembly and it is answerable to the Administrator in Council and, let's hope, to the Executive when, with the constitutional development of this Territory, it will come under our wing. But suddenly this great big centralist grabbing octopus wants to get hold of it and limit us by
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