Territory Stories

Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975



Debates Day 4 - 20 August 1975

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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





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pages 457 - 498

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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482 hospital services and away from shopping facilities. It is an unwarranted imposition to ask people to live in these incredibly bad circumstances and it is not necessary. One of the criticisms of the budget which I support is that insufficient money has been made available for the resumption of blocks where people have offered their land back to the Government. Had sufficient money been available, one would hope that the blocks would have been speedily acquired, any unsafe buildings speedily demolished and then new housing built on those sites. It would have added to the cost of the homes but it would have lessened the social costs and the need for social support services incurred by building in isolated pockets in the far northern regions of Darwin without any support facilities at all. I hope that I have adequately expressed my appreciation for the Budget overall for the Territory; I think we are remarkably lucky. There are some areas lacking such as the rural industry but other people with more expertise will no doubt comment on those. Darwin has been remarkably lucky. My only fear is that so much money that has so generously been made available may be unwisely spent. Mr POLLOCK: We have had the comment from the member for Nightcliff that the Country LiberalParty has been advocating a policy of restraint yet we are today saying that not enough money has been provided in certain areas. In the 2 areas in which I am principally concerned, Aboriginal Affairs and Health, we seem to be relatively happy with what we have received. However, I should remind the honourable member for Nightcliff that the Territory does depend a great deal on public spending as the present regime we have in Canberra seems to have satisfactorily stifled and strangled the private sector in that it has stopped any development of mining and exploration and so many of the Territory's private sector enterprises. Therefore, we are so much more dependent on the public sector spending to survive. For Aboriginal Affairs this year in the Northern Territory, there has been $44,028,065 allocated, which is an increase of $2,892,021 over last year. This is not a very great increase when you consider inflation and the fact that several projects which last year were on the federal Aboriginal grant were transferred to Territory administration DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 during the last year and these monies are appearing on the Territory's regional expenditure. The civil works program will upgrade existing services and provide water, electricity and access. Apart from servicing the Aboriginal communities, this area is important to other departments such as Health and Education which are working in association with the Aboriginal communities. It does disturb me a little that the proposed new works program totals $11,113,000 but, of that total program, only $1,500,000 is expected to be expended in this financial year which means nearly $1 Om is carried on to future years. One area of concern in the Aboriginal Affairs appropriation is the amount allocated for housing and the housing associations. Last year $7,828,211 was expended for Aboriginal housing in the Northern Territory but, unfortunately, not too many houses have been finished. This year, there is only $6.269m allocated for expenditure. However, if the government is to fulfil its pledge to provide Aboriginal housing within 10 years then expenditure should not go backwards to the degree that it has this year; it will need to be stepped up. No matter how much money is expended, it is the results of that expenditure that really count. Frankly, it was disappointing last year to see how little has come out of it all. In relation to Health, the Budget provides for expenditure of $39.8m for operating expenses of the Health Department in 1975-76. It also provides for a capital works program amounting to $2.61m which is in addition to the capital works program in the budget of the Darwin Reconstruction Commission. These figures compare with the expenditure of$28.9m for operating expenses and a capital works program totalling $1O.2m last year. The latter amount includes two large ongoing item, the Tennant Creek Hospital at $5.26m and a series of projects at the Katherine Hospital totalling $2.1m. Neither of those amounts was touched last year and, looking through the civil works program, I notice that quite a number of allocations last year to the Health Department were not commenced. There is still a considerable amount of work on the program. However, the way things are going with the government and its policies at the moment, we just won't have the staff to care for the people. There has been a growth ceiling of 1.5% placed on the public service as at the strength at 30 hne 1975.

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