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
476 have had, to get a full background on the expenditure but I have attempted to do so. In the program for 1975-76 the new works for the development of roads will be $1.65m in comparison to a new works program last year of $4.7m. If the program had moved along without cuts, we would have expected it to have been about $5.7m this year. A figure of $4,402,000 was spent last year on development roads in the Northern Territory. The estimate for this year is $4.24m which is an actual drop. Taking into account the extra costs that are involved, there is a significant drop in the expenditure on roads this year. I would like to point out that, in that, $4.24m is a carry-over mainly contributed to by the contract which was let for the upgrading of the Erldunda to South Australian border section of the Stuart Highway. This contract is $3.275m. Thus the bulk of the money that is anticipated being spent this year does constitute one large contract, leaving quite a small area for new construction. In 1974-75, the Stuart and Barkly Highways maintenance was $6,150,000 as compared with the proposed expenditure of $5,321,000 this year. The maintenance of development roads in 1974-75 was $2,431,000 and this has been increased this year to $2,566,000. This gives a total expenditure on maintenance in 1974-75 of $10,330,000 as against $11,619,000 this year. Taking into account the increased costs, about the same amount of money will be spent. What worries me, apart from the fact that the road systems in the Northern Territory must continue to be upgraded and developed, is that to continue' this development those industries involved in the construction of roads must have work available and any cutback in areas such as road construction will vitally affect the capability of these people to recover and get back into the business of building roads when the economy takes an upturn. It also affects drastically the Department of Housing and Construction, our main road building organisation. If they are not able to keep their complete complement busy, they are put in the same situation as the private sector in that they will find it difficult to recover. While the figures indicate that there is a holding situation with regard to the developmental roads and maintenance, it would appear that we have had a cutback in that area. Before I get off the subject of roads, I'll briefly mention once again the upgrading of DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 the Stuart and Barkly Highways which is not contained in the Budget because this is an item which is taken care of by the Public Works Committee. The Cabinet will have to approve the expenditure. I am hopeful that the Department of Northern Australia will be able to ensure that money will be spent this year on getting the second three-year program under way. We can only guess at what the Public Works Committee result will be. I believe that they will recommend that the programs be started. However, we still have to wait for the Treasury to make funds available and it is hoped that the money made available for the Stuart and Barkly Highways, whether it be for maintenance or supplemented by money made available through the Parliamentary Works Committee, will enable Housing and Construction to continue their programs on the highways. The Port Authority do not have much reason for complaint with regard to the amount of money that they asked for and received. In fact, the $1.l76m that was allocated to the Port Authority for restoration is the figure that was asked for that authority. There is no indicaton that any particular new works will be involved although I believe that there is an investigational study taking place on the proposed future development for the port of Darwin. A rather important item which has been made available to the Port Authority is $101,000 for the construction of a fishermen's wharf. I certainly know that the executive member for Resource Development is most happy to see that that money has been made available. It may not be enough, but I think that we should be most thankful that it was made available at all. The extra costs for fuel will certainly affect our communications. We have just been hit by a rise in shipping costs in the order of 40%, rail has been increased 20% and we now have an increase in the price of petrol. This will no doubt affect our road haulage which constitutes the major supply to the Northern Territory. Postage will also affect the Northern Territory. Unfortunately, the rules made by the people down south don't take into account the fact that we are rather isolated here and we have to accept these decisions. I will now refer to the expenditure on the fire sevice. There does not appear to be a great increase. An increase from $148,730 to $177 ,000 is an increase of only $28,250. This takes into account a decrease of $12,500 in their requirements for uniforms and clothing.
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