Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975



Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975

Other title

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





Publisher name


Place of publication



pages 457 - 498

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 I mentioned last week that the libraries in the Territory were in the most appalling state that has ever been my displeasure to know of in any form of resource service anywhere in the world. We got an increase of $103,124. For the purchase of books and library materials, $168,000 was made available, freight, repairs and other services $31,000. They tell me that this is reaching towards the ideal of 3 books a head. Considering the proportion of the population of the Territory that does read, it seems a little unrealistic to me for books and library materials, and I stress that books seem to be the only thing they have in mind. A section has been established in Brisbane to catalogue them. Presumably that is where the majority of the freight charges go. I consider the libraries' allocation in this budget an insult to the intelligence of the people of the Territory. The Majority Leader this morning mentioned the situation of the wildlife and national park allocation. All sorts of inglorious references to investigations regarding developmental policy, researches and survey and other mundane platitudes were trotted out. He explained the unrealism of this allocation. What about land use, a long overdue area to be explored in the Territory? The Reserves Board were given an increase of $150,000-if one considers the cost of living this would probably result in a decrease-" for greater protection of the environment and ecology by improved planning, management and control". They have 9 out of the 28 reserves manned at present, but all they got in increase was $150,000. I am sure honourable members can do their own mathematical equations on that subject. Services in general were reflected in the Budget as being necessary evils and allocations, a little unrealistic again in the terms of the cost of living and inflation in general, are more aimed at continuance with a hope of the collection of dues in terms of providing any expenses over and above the appropriations. I tried to contact the water service people on the subject of the promised improved Katherine water supply. It seems urgent business in other areas makes him not available. In terms of consumer protection, once more we get a budget of $7,000. for the board which merely keeps pace with the current situation, perhaps an unrealistic appropriation considering the government promise of new legislation with increasing powers for the Consumers' Protection Council. In terms 479 of price and rent control, they received the magnificent amount of $6,135 for new equipment. You will bepleased to hear that we are going to have improvement in the weights and measures laboratory. However, the Price Controller did manage to get 6 positions prior to the Budget so, hopefully, this will give promises of new degree of service operating in this department. Whilst I recognise the Government's needs for cuts in public expenditure, I leave you with one question: can a developing area such as us be treated as the receiver of foreign aid? Some recognition of our developing area and our belonging to Australia must be made. I hope constitutional development will provide this. Mrs LA WRIE: It amuses me somewhat that on a national level the Liberal and Country parties should be calling for massive cutbacks in Government spending, but locally the Country Liberal party is saying that the cutbacks have been too severe and there should be more government spending. Whilst realising that we have a home-grown electorate to serve, I think that they have employed a double standard during this debate-most particularly in the closing comments of the honourable member for Sanderson. The budget in general for needy people throughout Australia is a good budget and there are plenty of needy and depressed people in the Northern Territory. Certainly as far as the Northern Territory goes, we have been fortunate in the amount of money which will be available to be spent in the Territory. The present government has seen fit not to cut back to any large extent programs that we were all fearful about 2 weeks ago. The Northern Territory, by and large, has been excepted from the general government restraint. Give credit where credit is due. I think this is most significant for us. Honourable members are well aware that without a continual government spending in the Northern Territory, the private sector would collapse too. I find the carping comments of members, complaining on the national level about too much government spending and on a local level not enough, a little unfair. However, some of the comments of members who have spoken previously have been, up to a point, quite valid. In congratulating the present government on the level of spending maintained in the Territory, I reserve judgment on the wisdom of its allocation. I am sorry too that more co-operation was not sought from members of the Assembly in