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 Febrnary 1985 that will flow from projects such as the gas pipeline, improved facilities at the wharf, trade development zone hypothesis and, ultimately, from our railway, there is no doubt that the future of economic and industrial development in the Northern Territory is in good hands. However, it is not good enough to continue our positive approach to economic development alone and this government is certainly concerned with addressing itself to the social issues of the day. The member for Jingili addressed himself to the welfare of our residents, particularly our young people. It is pleasing to see that we are addressing ourselves to problems of concern to the community as it is today. The social issues and social pressures stem from a diverse community which has a different approach and different requirements from those of 10 years. ago. From an electorate point of view, I am particularly interested in the problems associated with the aged. This is an area which I will continue to stress. Through the government's support of the Council on the Ageing, we have a viable body to help coordinate services and facilities for the aged. Through the government's support of residential accommodation for senior citizens, I am quite sure that the aged in the Territory are better off than those in any state in Australia. That benefit results more from the efforts of this government than from those of our federal counterparts. Unfortunately, I reflect once again, as I did a year ago, on the tardiness of the federal government, through its Minister for Social Security and its Minister for Health, in coming to a decision about additional facilities for aged people in nursing homes in Darwin. As I mentioned almost a year ago, negotiations had been going on at that stage for a long time, probably 18 months or 2 years. After a bit of pressure resulting from the Northern Territory elections in 1983, the Minister for Social Security, with a little bit of prodding, decided that he would accept the proposals put fO~Tard by the Salvation Army for its facility in Darwin. That was all very nice in the shadow of an election; it was a bit of flag waving. Unfortunately, of course, it requires the agreement also of the Minister for Health. Thus, the federal government, through its bureaucratic processes, is able once again to delay development of this muchneeded facility in Darwin for our very worthy senior citizens. Mr Deputy Speaker, the Salvation Army has the funds to proceed with this development. It has now been waiting over a year. Once again, the Salvation Army thought there was some light on the horizon. Prior to the last federal election, when the federal Minister for Health visited Darwin, he gave an assurance to the Council on the Ageing and to other senior citizens in Darwin that he was almost certain that a favourable decision would be handed down in January 1985 in regard to additional facilities for the aged in nursing homes. Mr Deputy Speaker, January has long gone and still we have heard no word. It will turn out, I am sure, that people who have funds to spend on these facilities wili look for alternative projects and the losers will be our oldies. In the Territory, the aged population is increasing at a greater rate than what is acknowledged as the highest rate of normal population growth rate in Australia. That is for good reason. Here in the Territory, they have found that facilities are very much worth while and attractive. It is worth their staying on in their retirement years. Older people are following their children here and are finding that the lifestyle and the climate is very much worth their staying. Despite this rapid increase, we are fast finding that we have elderly people, who do not have the support of their families, housed in unsatisfactory accommodation. It is just not good enough. Mr Deputy Speaker, my other electorate concern is the problem associated with migrants. I have an electorate in which 35% to 40% of the people were born 64
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