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 Our thrust in this budget has been to limit the public sector and stimulate the private sector which, of course, is the real wealth creator in our community. In spite of having $40m cut from our general purpose capital works payments, we transferred funds from elsewhere to maintain and increase our capital works funding by 18%. That shows the commitment of this government to stimulating development in the private sector. That great architect of the federal Labor government's financial strategy, Senator Walsh, was recently in Darwin. He spoke to the faithful at the Labor Party dinner on 7 August. I would like to take a moment to quote an extract from his speech: By any objective measurement, the Australian economy faces severe short and medium-term economic difficulties. For 6 years we have recorded current account deficits between 4% and 6% of ,GOP. The cost of servicing the, accumulated debt is a major contributor to the current account problem. In the 12 months to the March quarter 1986, our terms of trade declined by 14%, which has wiped about $5m off our 1985-86 national income. There is no immediate likelihood of a major terms of trade improvement. Indeed, there seems little doubt that further deterioration since March will take another couple of billion dollars off our 1986-87 national income. The terms of trade decline; superimposed on pre-existing current account weaknesses, has caused the value of the Australian dollar to fall by 26% against the US dollar and 39% against the trade weighted index since January 1985. Our inflation rate, which has declined rapidly from 11. 5% in 1982-83 to 5.8% in 1984-85, has now gone up to about 8%, a rate between 2 and 3 times as high as the average of our major trading nations. Employment which, for 3 years, has grown by an annual rate of 3.4% now seems 1 ikely to fall to less than 1.5%, a level which will preclude further reduction in the rate of unemployment. Some people have diagnosed the cause of these problems as a centralised wage determination system, excessive wage growth facil ita ted by the accord, forei gn debt incurred by the federal government and the unsustainable, high rate of Australian economic growth. I agree with Senator Walsh on all of those counts. What he does not say is that the reason why Australia is in such a financial mess, why our NTEC subsidy was cut by $35m last year and a further $21m this year, why it cut $40m from our capital works funding, why it cancelled the railway project and the new Darwin air terminal and why this country is on the brink of financial disaster is because of the policies and the mismanagement of the master of the group of people who sit across there on the opposition benches. They are the servants of the Hawke Labor government and the mismanagement that I have just referred to, as stated by Senator Walsh, confirms that, like all Labor governments, they, ride the tiger of the left wing. While the pragmatists like Prime Minister Hawke try to guide it to the right, it continually pulls to the left. He has found, to his regret that, if he pulls too hard, 'it will wheel around and bite him on the leg. He has just been bitten, and the polls reflect that. He is losing the support of the trendies, the traditional left. His recent exercise in visiting Kakadu was undertaken to appease the greenies, the peace groups and the environmentalists. In spite of the continuing pressure and difficulties faced by our Treasurer,he has presented an excellent budget. Let me now turn my attention to some of the items of particular interest to me. Casuarina High School has 870
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