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 in saying that it is a complete and utter contradiction to decry the horrific cost to the public purse in economic and social terms of alcohol abuse whilst allowing it to be vigorously promoted through association with sport. We know that alcohol isa serious problem in our schools. It is not the fact that students get drunk that is of concern, but that they get drunk often and see nothing wrong with it. As a practising Catholic, I note with considerable regret that the Papal ,tour is being promoted by brewing companies. It is hardly surprising that young people regard the abuse of alcohol, still the most serious drug of abuse in Australia, as being a matter of no account. Unless opinion-makers and legislators have the courage to bite that bullet one day, we will continue to allocate greater and greater appropriations in our health,correctional services and education budgets in a belated attempt to alleviate the impact of that very expensive advertising. I hope that the all oca t i on wh i ch wi 11 enable the extens i on of the servi ces of po 1 ice in schools will be a step forward in encouraging a sensible approach to the problem of the use of ,alcohol and other drugs by schoolchildren. I commend the government for making that appropriation. I would also like to commend the government for its establishment of the school leaver program. I believe that one of the problems in educating children is the enormous sense of loss of self-esteem and morale that a child faces on becoming a long-term member of the unemployed. We are protected from this problem to a great degree here in the Northern Territory in comparison with other places in Australia. In major industrial cities like Newcastle, the problem is of horrific proportions because of the downturn in the steel industry and all the associated industries. Unemployment among schoolleavers there is in excess of 20%, and I have spoken to young people who know what it is like to be 1 of 100 school leavers turning up in response to advertisements in the Newcastle Morning Herald for 4 jobs. It is a commendable initiative of this government that the school leaver program has been established to try to provide that bridge between the end of a child's education and transition into the work force. I want to discuss another subject which has been a perennial issue here: casino taxes and charges. I want to make one particular demand of the, government and I do not think that it is unreasonable. The government has estimated an income and it is in the form of the conveniently round figure of $lm. If any figure is likely to be rubbery, I think this one is. However, I can see that this is'a drastic improvement on the truly woeful figure of $5288 collected from the casinos in 1985-86 when the casino inspectorate cost the taxpayers $512 000. Quite apart from the other millions that were wasted by the government on the completely unnecessary threat of public acquisition of the casinos, it cost us $521 000 to collect $5288. On many occasions, we have debated the $14m that was lost in that completely useless exercise and we have debated at length the loss of gambling tax revenue since Federal Hotels was forced out of the casino business in the Territory. Federal Hotels are still operating very successfully elsewhere and I visited both casinos when I was in Tasmania for the federal ALP conference. I went deliberately to have a look at their regimes and their tax payments. They are still happily paying substantial amounts of money to the Tasmanian government and the Adelaide casino is paying $lm a month into the Treasury of the South Australian government. Had Federal Hotels been left to its own devices here, it would have been paying around $3m a year 'in gaming taxes instead of the $5288 which the beaut new operators have been making for us. I do not think it unreasonable to demand that the government institute a taxation regime which at least brings back the amount of money that it costs 819