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 Mr FIRMIN (Ludmilla): Mr Speaker, it was refreshing to hear the Minister for Education talking about some of the government's positive initiatives. The Appropriation Bill aims to reduce some areas of government expenditure and redirect others to reduce wasteful employment and to encourage investment. The minister's checklist contained many positive initiatives and, in view of the barbs coming from members opposite, it is interesting to compare them with some of the items in the current federal budget. Some of the grants to organisations in this year's federal budget include: $8000 to the Food Preservers Union for leadlight and ceramic classes; $114 000 to the Victorian Trades and Labor Council Hall for in-residence and arts workshops, and $25 000 for the compilation of a catalogue relating to arts and working life; $15 000 to the Geelong Trades Hall for the production of a play; $15 000 to the Storemen and Packers Union for a project on art - presumably a hammer and sickle and a sledgehammer; $35 000 to the Union of Australian Women to research its own history; $5000 to the National Network of Young Lesbians and Homosexual Men; and $5000 to the Sydney Gay Mardi Gras Association for an art worker plus fees for pre-festival workshops, with a further $7500 in May. Those are some of the small items. There are some much larger ones of course. $100 000 is being granted to a group to study the stress resulting from completing household chores. This is a 5-year study, costing $100 000. It goes on and on. $650 000 was spent on space at the Rockefeller Centre in New York, space which was never ever required. Of course, locally, we have $1.5m for a control tower at Gove airport which the federal government knows will never be used. That is not a bad scenario, given the problems which face Australia at the moment. We have one of the worst balance of payments deficits of any country in the world and we have inflation roaring out of control. It is interesting to note that to payoff our foreign debt completely at the moment would require $6000 from every man, woman and child in Australia or, alternatively, $25 000 from each Australian family. With that scenario in place, it is hard to understand the opposition crying about the revenue-raising that the Northern Territory government is engaging in at the moment. As a government, we are very proud to be able to say that we intend to raise 23% of the amount of money that will be spent within the Northern Territory in this next fiscal period. Before 1978, when we moved to self-determination, we were totally reliant on federal government handouts and we have moved now into a position of contributing 23% of the revenue for our budget. It is nearly half of the relative amount that is being collected in the states. We have some very interesting and innovative schemes in the Northern Territory at the moment which are being funded from our budget. Moneys are being set aside for assistance to enterprise workshops and small business training. The concept of providing facilities for and supporting private enterprise is strong and alive in our current government. We are moving faster and faster to provide infrastructural development to allow our private businesses to create further wealth and employ more people. The technology section of the new Department of Business, Technology and Communications is steaming ahead at the moment and, of course, we all know what is happening with the Trade Development Zone proposals. We hope that these will continue to move forward as quickly as they have in the past. In relation to communications, infrastructure is being examined to provide rural and remote area people with communications arrangements that will carry them through to the 21st century. I think members will hear some very interesting things about this in the near future. 863

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