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 In relation to this exercise, I would like to thank the Department of Transport and Works for the constructive way that it has approached the exercise. It is refreshing to see an organisation which does not defend the status quo for its own sake. The staff of the Water Division also deserve particular mention for the way in which they are assisting despite the fact that they may not be entirely certain what the future holds. One of the more imaginative innovations in the Water Division in 1986-87 will be the introduction of a water utility mapping and information system more commonly known as Mapnet. This will complement the system already in use in the Department of Lands. Following a recent review of technical computing needs throughout the entire administration, it has been decided that the system selected by the Department of Transport and Works will serve as a core unit for all departments and authorities. They will be able either to tap into that facility or add to it according to individual needs. Because the system has this central role, it will now be run by NCOM rather than the Water Division. This initiative into technical computing is evidence of the government's resolve to make use of the latest available technology in an effort to ensure government services are provided as efficiently as possible. For example, it is expected that, with this system, we will reap the benefits of computer-aided design and drafting. The costs of the initial unit of this system for the Water Division will cost in the region of $lm. We have allocated $400 000 towards this in the 1986-87 budget. The government has allocated $4.7m to the Transport Division. This is the area of the Department of Transport and Works which provides advice to the government on all transport policy. It plans and coordinates services and facilities, particularly for air and land transport. The $4.7m it will cost in 1986-87 is a small price to ensure that we have a transport network which services the Territory and enables development to proceed. Perhaps the most obvious aspect of the Transport Division's operation is the Darwin Bus Service. We have taken several decisions which are expected to improve the efficiency of that service. We have budgeted this financial year for something in excess of $3m for the bus service. Dedicated school bus services provided by the Department of Education will cease from the end of this school year. From next year, children will be able to use the Darwin Bus Service. The extra passenger loads will be catered for by the extension of existing services and some feeder services in the northern suburbs will be put out to tender so that the private sector will be still involved. I hope parents will appreciate the reasons for this decision and that this is the way most urban centres ensure children get to and from school safely. It was obviously inefficient and too costly for the government to be running 2 bus services and substantial savings are expected to result from this at'rangement. The Department of Transport and Works will now be responsible also for school bus services outside of the Darwin area. Once again, there are obvious savings through having 1 rather than 2 departments involved in providing bus services. We have argued recently in the Arbitration Commission for the introduction of split shifts for drivers of the Darwin Bus Service. Commissioner Palmer has accepted our arguments and substantial operational savings will flow from that. The big benefit will come from being able to extend our services as Darwin and Palmers ton grow without the need to increase the driver numbers to the same extent as would be necessary without split shifts. The TWU opposed the introduction of split shifts. However, I am confident that, in time, it 838
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