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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486 Australia but also in Tasmania. I just refer to those things to give an idea of the ambiguous thinking about the economy. In conclusion, the Treasurer said: "If inflation is to be curbed, there are no soft options only a choice between more or less difficult ones. For our part, our hope is that, with the community appreciation for the need for restraint, we can make a real start with getting inflation under control and further raising living standards for everyone". I'm not going to say any more about that. I'll leave it to the other honourable members of the Assembly to look through the details of the Budget. Perhaps in a few months time, we might be able to go back to look at those remarks at the beginning of the speech and at the end of the speech. I am interested particularly in education in my electorate. We have an Aboriginal school being built for $6.5m in the coming year. We have extensions to Dhupuma College which have been going on for the past twelve months. The outlay for this is in the order of $379,838 of which we have spent $263,165. They will have a swimming pool built there which will cost $97,921. When you add these sums up, with the extensions in the new school, in the order of$6.7m will be spent on education for Aboriginal people. However, in the nearby town, Nhulunbuy, the area school has extensions being built in the order of $1.2m. There are only about 150 children who attend this school every day and we have about 80 or 90 children out at Dhupuma College. They are finding the money to spend on small groups of people. I am not decrying that they should not have some reasonable buildings but I feel that we have a school in Nhulunbuy which is quite adequate for senior students for Aboriginal children. What I am getting at is that two years ago nobody thought fit to build a high school at Nhulunbuy. Once the children get to the senior school stage, grade 11, they are forced to go down south. I looked to see if there is auything in the Budget for isolated areas. They have increased the means test from something like $6,500 to $7,500 but they do not give anyone else a chance for any more concessions or allowances for isolation. If a child goes down to school in a southern capital, there are no concession fares for the parents from these isolated areas. They can only go by air and we have had increases recently in air fares. The average person DEBATES-Wednesday 20 August 1975 wouldn't be able to afford to go down because that would probably be his yearly savings. If they are going to get a formula, they must look at various areas and work out a formula that will do for a particular area. The Education Minister, Mr Beazley, has done fairly well in this last year. He has allocated a $400,000 grant for a pre-school at Nhulunbuy. The other expenditure on education is very small. With the rise of about 15% inflation and the cost of living, there is $36,000 for cleaning of schools at Nhulunbuy; I doubt whether they will get much out of that for the whole year. Another area that I would like to talk about is the coastal shipping service subsidy. It has been increased this year by $8,000. It provides a payment of a subsidy for a shipping service from Brisbane to Me1ville Bay, Gove and Millner Bay Groote Eylandt, for ultimate delivery to Roper River, Rose River, E1cho Island etc. The subsidy was increased from $24,000 per annum to $48,000 on 15 November 1974. We are only getting an $8,000 increase but, with the cost of living and also the payment on goods arriving, we won't even see anything for that $48,000 by the end of next year. There is also another item in the Department of Northern Australia, Division 455, under the heading of Nhulunbuy township. It provides for payment for services for sewerage, garbage, chilled water, electricity and general rates. The appropriation figure for 1975-76 is $108,000 yet the expenditure for 1974-75 was $230,929. For some reason, there is a decrease of $122,922. They say that this is brought about by a review of the electricity charges during 1974-75 resulting in the need for an additional appropriation of $172,900 to enable payment of new rates including arrears. Incidentally, the department controls 92 houses and 2 hostels at Nhulunbuy. If that is the estimated cost to service these units, I am sure they will be in a bother by the end of the year. I was going to add strength to the honourable member for Education and Consumer Affairs' case concerning the library situation but I don't think there is anything more for me to add on that. It is quite funny to hear that the number of books remaining after cyclone Tracy is estimated at 40,000 and it says funds have been provided for the purchase of 20,100 books which is $140,700 yet the appropriation figures for 1975-76 are $200,000.