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 What about sewerage charges? The increase there is about 30%, but revenue is up 85%. Don't forget, Mr Speaker, that the housing industry is in a real slump. The government says growth will meet the difference, but does the Treasurer seriously expect us to believe that we will have 85% more toilets this year? We "will need them if we are to meet the $2.5m shortfall in this item. Probably, there will be another savage increase in charges. As I said, Territorians have many reasons to fear the new year as .these few examples have shown. No doubt, when the government imposes those massive extra burdens on Territorians, it will find a new or, more probably, an old excuse to show that it is all the fault of. the federal government. We heard that tale when the Treasurer brought down his budget. He said that services would be reduced because the federal government had singled out the Territory for special treatment. He spoke particularly about the cut in the subsidy to NTEC. I could produce figures to show that the actual cut was less than the $21m the Treasurer spoke of, but what I want to talk about is the money that this government wasted last year by locking itself into various projects. The money lost there was far greater than the alleged $21m reduction in the subsidy. I refer to figures that are well known. For example, in 1985-86, casino taxes were forgone to the extent of $3m. $5m was involved in the Alice Sheraton. With the purchase of assets, Yulara cost $20m and a variable lease arrangement of $7m - a total of $35m. And what is proposed for 1985-86? Mr Speaker, I am not saying that the federal government saw this wastage and decided to teach the errant Northern Territory government a lesson. I have no evidence of that at all. What I am saying. and I will say it over and over again,is that, if that money had not been wasted, it would have been available for the average person, the needy, the elderly, the sick and the small businessman. Mr Speaker, let me discuss what the Treasurer referred to as the cornerstone of his budget: the capital works program. He made great play of this in his speech. He told us of the $445 000 for a shooting complex in Alice Springs which was to be finished in time for the Masters Games. What a load of rubbish that was! Of course, it was not finished in time for the Masters Games. That was a farcical piece of grandstanding. There were also the 25-horse stables to be built at Tennant Creek and an indoor dressage arena at Palmerston. We know where the Treasurer's interest lies. I remember a picture of the Treasurer and a horse that appeared in the NT News. I think the caption was: lIs this our new Chief Minister?' The wags had fun with that particular picture. The comment I liked best was: 'Horse favoured in party ballot'. I thought it was a fair estimation of the relative chances of the Treasurer and the horse. I drew up a table to indicate just where all this money was being spent. There were many items whose relative merits I was wondering about. I drew up a table of figures under the following headings: Darwin, Alice Springs, Katherine, Barkly, other rural electorates and Stuart. I went through the budget and identified amounts for works in progress and new capital works and I made allowance for some items such as the Bicentennial Roads Program, which is totally federally funded, and some of the education items which are said to be subject to Commonwealth agreement. I averaged out the budget allocations in terms of per capita expenditure in each region. The amount spent for each elector in this year's capital works program is: Darwin - $5500; Alice Springs - $6000; Katherine -$28 400; Barkly - $10 300; other rural electorates - $2800 and Stuart - $996. 806