Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 October 1983)
Debates for 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 3rd Assembly 1980 - 1983
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 11 October 1983 Territory. I believe that no budgetary system in this country for a long time has been more successful in promoting confidence and continued development than the Northern Terriiory's. One has only to look around to see its success. The truth about this major concern to the honourable member for Sanderson is that, after all those things are settled, hopefully in the consideration of any budget, there is revenue available for distribution to initiatives.- We had funds allocated to the Northern Territory Development Corporation for its ongoing program. This $lm was an additional amount of money allocated over and above the ongoing program to which small business already has access, and will continue to have access. Indeed, small business is the largest user of Northern Territory Development Corporation loan funds. I am not talking about guarantees and other special propositions approved by Cabinet through the NTDC which are of a specific nature - in other words, guarantees and one-off operations. The greatest user of the multiplicity of loans within the NTDC is quite clearly small business. This money is additional to that to which it will still maintain access. It is for the purpose of providing loan funds to existing successful businesses which are already employing Northern Territory people. Where a business reaches a stage where it is stable and successful but, in the opinion of the owners of that business, it is clearly a requirement to have further capital at reasonable interest rates, the government proposes to accept applications for loans. But it must be demonstrated that the business is successful and satisfactorily operated and that the provision of those moneys will result in increased employment for Northern Territorians. They are the criteria. I do not want my colleague, the Treasurer, to think that I am in any way disloyal but I must admit that, from the actual wording of the Treasurer's speech, that may have been a difficult message to gather. The Treasurer's speech referred to special,rather than general payments. The general loans will continue in,;the same manner as previously. This is a payment of a very special nature and it is for the purpose of aiding small business to employ more Territorians which indeed is the thrust of the whole budget generally. Mr Speaker, referring to the theme of the honourable member for Sanderson's speech in relation to capital works, she used solely the figures of the Department of Transport and Works to come up with the figure of $103m-odd as being the amount of capital works to be made available through that department. She then compared it to the amount made available to the Department of Transport and Works last year and came up with a figure of about $5.6m as a growth rate. Let me say that I would be the first to want to see a greater increase through the Department of Transport and Works capital works budget if that were possible and could be achieved by making cuts elsewhere. If one is going to spend money on capital ;works. within the limited subventions available to a government, then quite clearly priorities have to be looked at. Certain parts of the budget are very much tied up in recurrent expenditure, the principa~ one being the thousands of Territorians we employ in our public service. It is pretty well untouchable. The predecessor to the present Leader of the Opposition once .made great issue about $20 000 allocated for the Office of Information. He said that, by tampering with that we would alter a capital works program. Mr Speaker, that is not so. Let us not make that mistake. The total of those little bits that one can nit-pick at in any budget would not build 1 km of road. When one talks about the provision of capital works money, the other things to consider are the capacity of the companies that tender for and obtain these jobs to actually do the work and the actual need for the work within the constitutional capacities of the Northern Territory. I can think of many things that this government would willingly spend money on if it were within its bailiwick, the Alice Springs airport being one glaring example. It can only be 1080
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