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 Mr D.W. Collins: It is time they changed their member. Mr EDE: That would be the response. It is a blatant and disgusting piece of politics if I ever saw one. I can understand the Katherine situation. It was interesting to have a look at Barkly. Most of the work was in progress at the time the member for Barkly was Chief Minister, and there was not very much new happening there. However, it is true that Darwin electors get 5.5 times what my electors get, Alice Springs 6 times, Barkly 10 times and Katherine 28 times. I believe that this is something which should make this government hang its head in shame. It is continuously harping on about the work that it does in Aboriginal electorates and the enormous amounts of money that are spent attempting to redress the balance. Let it never be said again that this government is pouring enormous amounts of money into rural electorates, because those figures prove that it is not. From my experience, it has not been the case for many years. I am preparing a series of questions on mines and energy and Aboriginal affairs and I will raise those when I go through this bill more thoroughly in the committee stage. However, I would like to discuss the Department of Mines and Energy budget now, because it has a direct bearing on a number of other debates which will occur during these sittings. My first point is that planned expenditure has dropped by $4.6m. That is not something to panic about; it reflects a job well done. Rum Jungle has been cleaned up. After all these years, that blight on our countryside has been removed. I would like to congratulate the workers involved, thank the federal government for the money it provided and request the Northern Territory government not to create any more Rum Jungles. It is just not worth the risk. There is one area where the Department of Mines and Energy budget has been cut savagely by more than 15% in real terms. I refer, of course, to the poor lame duck that should not be in this department, the Industrial Safety Division. I will read out its functions because it is very important: The functions are to reduce accidents in the work place, to make industry aware of safety, and to encourage self-regulation. To meet this objective, the division carries out the following activities: safety training, promotion of safety, safety functions, provision of advice to government on policy and legislation relating to safety, and administer inspections under the Dangerous Machinery Act, the Construction Safety Act, the Dangerous Goods Act and the Explosives Act. The division suffered a reduction in funds of $159 000. The net decrease reflects the reduced level of staff. The division is already unable to carry out its function and has suffered a reduced level of staffing. This reflects the attitude of this government to industrial safety. It is prepared to cut funds, reduce staff numbers and carry out fewer inspections. The other major area which lost funds was mines. If we investigate that, we find that the decrease is attributable to 'planned rationalisation' in mine site inspections. I know what that means, Mr Speaker. It means fewer of them. Let me come finally to Stuart, that most underdeveloped of electorates, the one that has been deliberately and maliciously slighted in this budget. We have very little to celebrate. We will cop all the increases but very few 807
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