Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)


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 - Wednesday 27 February 1985 I was pleased to hear mention of manufacturing and growth in manufacturing. Northern Cement in Darwin is producing cement, much of which is used in the Territory. I was absolutely delighted to hear that Northbrick is exporting bricks to Singapore. As you will recall, Mr Deputy Speaker, a year or 2 ago our then Chief Minister was delivering a speech on exports. He mentioned the possibility of exporting bricks and there were great chortles of merriment from the opposition, particularly from the Leader of the Opposition who threw bricks at the Chief Minister from then on. I think even the Chief Minister muttered a couple of words under his breath about why that was put in his speech. He probably wanted to drop a brick on the speechwriter's toe. But it has happened. We are actually exporting bricks to Singapore and that is great for the Territory. It is great to see the same bricks coming down to Alice Springs in very large numbers. There are pallets all through my electorate and out on the golf course. Northbrick is spreading out over the Territory. That is great for business here and great for the Territory. Small business is an interest of mine. We have a new portfolio whic.h is very pleasing. I would offer some advice on the way the government could best help small business. One is to reduce the costs and problems of employment. Certain things were mentioned by the member for Millner. Most of us would agree with him. I am pleased to hear that he is concerned about this particular area. There are certain union people who seem to have the attitude that, as long as their union members have a job, they do not give a damn if others have one or not. The government also, wherever possible, should reduce the red tape that destroys incentives to small business. Hours of paperwork each week kill the incentive. I praise the skills training that the Small Business Advisory Service has made available to small businesses. I believe that has helped. When you go into small business, you have to be an expert in many different fields. The work of these people is greatly appreciated by those who have attended their seminars. The other one is the reduction of costs and charges. The Territory government has a pretty good record of trying to keep these down even though Canberra has forced it to try to raise as much money as it can within the Territory. Our attitude has been that, if we encourage people to come here, we will end up with more revenue-raising capacity than if we tried to kill their incentive. Taxation in the main is a federal concern. But I believe that small business is indeed the goose that lays the golden egg and I fear that it is strangled. In what other field of work.are there people who work not just 40 hours a week but 60, 80, 100 or even more hours a week? If you in~lude their families, the total hours worked are far in excess of the normal 40 or 37~ hours worked by people generally. Many of these Deople are saying: 'What are we doing it for? For what purpose? It is a drain on our family life. We do not get a chance to be with the kids. We will give up and get a government job'. The only problem is that, when they have all found government jobs, there will not be any government jobs because there will be noboay raising the wealth to pay for them. If government were wise and treated small businesses correctly, I believe that we could take up the slack in employment and reduce the social charges which are paid by these people who are labouring under the heavy load we put upon them. If there.were ever a union that I would like to see, it would be a union of small businesses who organised themselves to lobby government as some of the bigger industries and the labour unions do. 61