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 the method of providing water and sewerage services is being reviewed. This action has been taken to enable a more commercial approach to be taken to the supply of water and sewerage services and to make some economies through a combination with NTEC of similar utility services. I trust all honourable members appreciate the importance of the money allocated to both transport and works for the development of the Territory. From the time of self-government in 1978, successive Country Liberal Party governments have recognised 2 of the most important tasks in securing a prosperous future for the Territory: to provide basic social infrastructure, such as schools, health clinics, libraries, water and sewerage services to attract people and investors; and to ensure that both our inter and intra state transport links are provided at standards that will encourage economic and social development. The reason why so much money has been pumped through the Department of Transport and Works since then is because it has responsibility for these important prerequisites for our future prosperity. Honourable members can see from the budget papers that the Department of Transport and Works receives the largest allocation of all government departments. Its allocation for 1986-87 will be $250m and that represents over 20% of total government outlays. For that reason, it is easy to see why transport and works operations are so important. The total allocation this financial year is some $5m more than last year, an increase of approximately 2%. In dollar terms, a 2% increase obviously means that, in real terms, the department is being asked to operate with a reduced budget. It would be a natural conclusion to think that a reduced level of service will follow from that. Through myself as minister, the government has asked the department to continue its review of methods of operation to see if further administrative economies can be achieved. If its performance in past years is any indication, we should be confident it will be able to do so. Mr Speaker, over the past couple of years, the Department of Transport and Works has recognised the tightening financial situation and its resolve to assist the government in meeting its financial objectives has been second to none. It is not my intention to sing the department's praises too much but, in the political arena, we tend to lose sight of the good service and advice we receive from government departments. . In 1986-87, Transport and Works will inject $198.3m directly into the economy in capital works, repairs and maintenance, purchase of capital items, property management, payments to local authorities for roads, operation of the Darwin Bus Service and the Government Printing Office, water and sewerage services and through the Road Safety Council. We will be paying $52m in salaries and administrative support for the department's 1800 employees to provide all those services. In his budget speech in August, the Treasurer advised the Assembly that one of the government's decisions to boost the private sector was to maintain the impetus of the capital works program. In 1986-87, we have allocated $117.3m to Transport and Works for its part of the total works program. This is an increase of . over $2m on the 1985-86 expenditure. This government, unlike those in some of the southern states, has not reduced its commitment to maintain its capital works program. It seems a basic proposition that the economic welfare of any area of Australia cannot be protected without such a commitment. 835
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