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
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 remarks in relation to comments that have been made by members of the opposition who appear to have deserted us. The member for Arnhem commented on the allocation of funds to the Housing Commission. He supported that move wholeheartedly, and so he should because the housing program this year accounts for an estimated cash expenditure of $11.2m. This represents an increase of more than $6m on last year's expenditure. He said that more money should have been spent on housing at Galiwinku. I would say to the honourable member that the various programs, under the Commonwealth States Housing Agreement, are looked at on a needs basis. It is quite obvious that the corrnnittees that are established to examine the various housing programs were of the opinion that the need did not exist at Galiwinku at this time. I was very pleased to hear that the member for Arnhem supports the Menzies School of Health Research. He acknowledged the good work that it is doing and I look forward to his support when we try to gain further assistance from the Commonwealth. I have tried to have the Menzies School of Health Research acknowledged as the unit that will examine all aspects of Aboriginal health in particular. I believe that it is ideally positioned to carry out research into the use of kava and a number of other matters. We hope to establish a unit in Alice Springs but I am unable to comment on that until it is a little bi t further down the li ne. He mentioned Angurugu and a lack of government support for the prov1s10n of various activities for children after school hours. I would like to say that the problem of petrol sniffing is being examined at present. South Australia intends to develop programs which will help children overcome their boredom but, as far as the Territory is concerned, we believe that the communities themselves hold the answers. The member for Arnhem would acknowledge that there are Aboriginal communities that do not have the problem because the traditional Aboriginals in those particular communities are able to control their people. However, we acknowledge that the problem is serious in some communities and we will keep him informed. As the Minister for Community Development mentioned earlier today, there will be a meeting on 28 November of ministers responsible for Aboriginal affairs, community development and health to examine the problem of petrol sniffing. The member for Stuart raised the matter of health workers and alleged that there had been a reduction in services. In line with the Northern Territory government's policy to promote Aboriginal self-management, the Department of Health encourages Aboriginal management and health care. Where the Department of Health and the communities agree that a satisfactory level of service can be provided solely by Aboriginal health workers, then such arrangements are implemented. The most recent examples are in the towns that he has mentioned. In such circumstances, the Aboriginal health workers are supported by regular visits by nursing and medical staff, by radio and telephone communication with medical staff, which is available on a 24-hour basis, and the provision of vehicles equipped with radios. Again, these arrangements are monitored very carefully to ensure that a service. is provided. However, it is government policy that, where possible, Aboriginals should manage these things for themselves. He raised the matter of the seminar on housing and I am very pleased that he welcomes such a seminar. This is not really the result of the downturn in the housing industry. There have been many corrnnents from a wide range of bodies involved in housing: the Master Builders Association, the NT Real Estate Institute and various suppliers and contractors who wanted to have some 857
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