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
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 university is at University Avenue in Palmerston. That always has been the plan of this government which, as you know, will be around for a long time, Mr Speaker. We were treated to fabrications based on the sort of half truths and innuendo that the member for Arafura loves so much. The old hospital site is certainly the cheapest option for the development of the university. Steps will be taken soon to ensure that the university will have to move out in 10 years' time. It is a great site. It is the cheapest site for us and it will allow us to provide the educational opportunities which young Territorians are not getting now. Any suggestion by the members opposite that that should not happen is very shameful. They will all regret the attitude that they have taken towards this particular development. In terms of education generally, I would like to begin by stating that the Northern Territory government's commitment to education is one of which we can be rightly very proud. I should point out that our achievements have been made in the face of an extremely difficult situation in the national economy. We have also had to battle against a hostile federal Labor government which has done its best to hamper our development. Before we go into the detail of my department's program for this financial year, I would like to provide some background to the circumstances under which the program was framed. First, there .was the introduction of the fringe benefits tax to be considered. That is something which the member for Stuart did not even mention. When the tax was first notified, it was estimated that the Department of Education alone would have pay nearly $3m. That is almost $2000 a school or close to $100 a student. It was unbelievable. Since then, there has been so much confusion about the tax and so many changes to it that we just do not know what it wi 11 cost us or where we will be hit. The fact remains that this iniquitous tax will still have a sizeable impact on the department's budget, and that means services to our children will suffer ultimately. I cannot understand the federal government's attitude. We cannot forget that the people opposite are members of the Australian Labor Party and they are as responsible for this tax as anyone else because they will not stand up and speak against it. They keep on mumbling little stories in support of it. They say that it is aimed at the fat cats. For every fat cat in the Territory, this tax will affect 100 ordinary, hard-working Territorians. The Territory government has had to cope with a series of broken promises by the federal Labor government in relation to education and I will give some examples. First, there was a promise to provide additional resources for programs covering English as a second language, and intensive language units. This commi.tment was displayed in the last federal budget when the ESL program was cut savagely by 46%. Maybe that is where the member for Arafura got his figure of 46% from. There was a 46% cut to the Territory. The program was cut by more than $30m nationally. The Labor government does not have much of a commitment to education. Next there was the promise that the federal Labor government would provide support to systems in schools to enable reflection on their total practices, including curriculum, teaching, learning styles and organisation, so as to improve the learning experience of all students. This support was demonstrated by the government's decision to axe completely the very valuable professional development program. With the support of the Territory government, that program had enabled every Territory teacher to receive in-service training at least once a year. It has now gone. That. is how the federal government looks after education. 826
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