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
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Wednesday 27 February 1985 Given the deficit we have in this country and our poor trading position, I am concerned at mention of revenue-sharing with states and the federal government. Indications are that we have tougher times ahead but I believe that the Territory will be able to take any crunch as well as any other part of Australia. In one sense, if we have a tough time, I believe it will contribute to our character building. A situation where a government does less and individuals do more for themselves will be a good thing. The central Australian gas pipeline through to Darwin and, hopefully, to Gove is indeed an exciting project. In the long term, the hope is that we will be able to make the Northern Territory independent of federal subsidies for the generation of electricity and, in time, we might be able to produce relatively cheap power which will be a boon for the manufacturing industry. That situation was totally unthinkable before, Mr Deputy Speaker. If this is a result of new-age thinking, let us have more of it. It is also pleasing to note that the government, knowing that the federal government had reneged on its promise to build the Alice to Darwin railway, is prepared to look at new approaches and to bring in private enterprise to explore all avenues in order to have this railway built. Again, I am pleased to note that the land rights area seems to be showing very encouraging signs. We may end up with legislation with which we can all live and which will be to the mutual benefit of all in the Territory. I was talking to the Mayor of Katherine last night about the proposed amendments to the Local Government Act and it seems that most people are very happy with the draft bill that has been circulated. I hope this will put local governments on a very firm footing with a degree of independence that they are looking for. I am sure that will be welcomed throughout the Territory. We are participating in the National Crimes Authority and I think that we would all agree that criminals should not be protected by borders and the authorities should be able to reach them. I am concerned about the weak powers that this authority has been given under the federal act. Time will tell but certainly we should watch and kick at it if we feel that it is not doing the job that needs to be done. The policy to extend electricity further into rural areas is welcomed. It will encourage growth and make things possible which are impossible at the moment. The alternatives that people have of generating electricity with diesel are costly and involve people being there to operate them. That is a real drain. Where electricity can be extended, I am sure it will encourage wealth creation. I believe the policy for mineral exploration in parks is welcomed. It is sane and sensibie. I do not think in this day and age anybody will allow miners or exploration teams to rip up the Territory. I know that the explorers themselves are painfully aware that pressure is being put on them. But I do not believe that we should go to the extreme that some would advocate and exclude all exploration and all mining. That just does not make sense. I am pleased to note the administrative moves that have been introduced by the new Chief Minister. The aim is to streamline the process of government and that is welcomed. It will be welcomed by the public. It will take some time to check the results and extra changes may need to be made but I am pleased with the positive comments that I have received as I move around the community. The future of the Territory is indeed a challenging one. It is still an exciting one and I am very pleased to be a part of it. 62
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