Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)


Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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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DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 he give us similar figures showing all interest paid and all borrowings made? In other words, if the Treasurer disagrees with the figures that I have put forward to the Assembly this evening, I want him to be able to provide me with alternative figures. Given the very high and growing level of public debt shown by the ABS figures, can the Treasurer give an assurance that he will not continue to bail out the budget with further borrowings? That is, are we going to keep painting ourselves into a corner with more and more debt? Does the Treasurer have any limit in mind concerning the extent to which he will load Territorians with a debt burden? It is $536 this year. Where are we going to end up? Where is the final benchmark on government borrowings? When do we stop spending ourselves into a corner? Finally, I am dying to hear some explanation by the Treasurer of the difference between borrowing money to balance the budget and a deficit budget. The Treasurer may be able to explain that simple concept to me. As I have said before, I am an extremely humble person and I am even prepared to be taught by yokels. I turn now to the financing of local and community governments. They are obliged to have their budgets assessed before the end of September. However, they have no access to any funding until we pass this budget. That is a matter of great concern to local governments although, as I understand it, there remains a degree of flexibility within community governments. I would suggest that the government looks at the legislation and the requirements that it forces upon local governments but is not prepared to accept itself. This budget has been around since August whereas local governments are obliged to have theirs formulated before the end of September. I would ask the government to review that matter and I would hope that, within its budget planning, it can foreshadow to local governments their likely revenue in terms of Territory contributions so that they can better formulate their budgets. Another matter within the Department of Community Development is the welfare area. It was of great concern to me, given the amount of public attention that the matter has received, particularly in central Australia, that there was no allocation for the construction of some facility for the criminally insane. The judiciary in central Australia has no option, because of these persons' medical condition, but to put them back out on the street where they will commit yet another crime and so appear in court again. It is an endless, mindless circle and I had hoped that there would be some allocation so that such persons could be securely and humanely detained. Unfortunately, there was no allocation for that in the budget. In relation to the racing and gaming portfolio, I have only 1 query. I am sure the former Treasurer, who has some interest in racing matters, will appreciate my concern. I raise this matter now so that the minister has some forewarning when we come to the committee stages. I notice that the actual revenue for the Northern Territory government from the TAB last year was about $300 000. The estimate for 1986-7 is $1.3m. I would not claim to be a mathematician, but that looks like about a 400% increase. While I do expect that the TAB will continue to enjoy some success, that seems tome to be a wildly exaggerated figure. I can only imagine that either the amount is wildly exaggerated or the government intends to impose some new tax or otherwise increase its revenue-raising capacity within the TAB. If the government does intend to do that, it would be of great concern to me and, I am sure, to the racing industry within the Northern Territory generally. Turning to more parochial matters, once again Nhulunbuy had the peculiar distinction of not enjoying a mention in the Treasurer's budget speech. I have become quite used to this. It is a place that is far from the minds of the majority of government members but, nevertheless, it is a considerable 847