Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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 27 February 1990 I would just 1 i ke to put on record that I bel ieve there is a very serious flaw in having a system where we present 1 account for the 3 services to consumers in the expectation that they will be able to pay at the time they receive the account. I do not think it is p~tting too fine a point on it to say consumers in the Territory are experiencing considerable difficulty in meeting their commitments, and one of the things they are able to do at the moment is stagger payments of their power, water and sewe~age accounts, and make these payments over a period of time that enables them to get by. The very thought of collecting these amounts together at the same time would daunt many people and, I am sure, would cause some of them to think about whether they ought to live somewhere else. What we really need is an environment where people feel that they are ab 1 e to cope with the ci rcumstances in whi ch they 1 i ve, and there is no doubt that, if we are to have a single billing system for power, water and sewerage, where 1 account covering the 3 services goes out once a month or each quarter or whatever, as Territorians, we will need a range of payment opt ions that will enable peop 1 e to cope. I put it to the government that, if it is contemplating billing for the 3 services under 1 actount to reduce its overheads and administrative costs, it will need to take into actount the need for people to have staggered payment arrangements becau~e, undoubtedly, paying for the 3 services at one time will make it very difficult for some people to survive. I would 1 i ke to pay tribute to some of the achievements whi ch have occurred at the Tennant Creek High School in the last 12 months. Last year, in Tennant Creek, we had the situation for the first time where students ~ho had startedthei r primary school i ng in Tennant Creek actually completed Yea r 12 in Tennant Creek. That is a pretty good sign, because it is the first real indication of population stability that you can expect to find in a community. There is no doubt. that, for a town like Tennant Creek to be able to boast that some of its children went to preschool there and then graduated through all their years of schooling to Year 12 and obtained a good pass that enabled them to enter university, is good news for the town. Some have gone to university in Darwin and some have gone to the University of New England. Wherever they have gone now, certainly they have been able to graduate and progress to their tertiary studies after undertaking their total schooling in Tennant Creek, and I think that is a commendable performance. Some honourable members would remember that the construction of the high school in Tennant Creek between 1984 and 1986 was something that was not particularly encouraged. In fact, Mr Speaker ... A member: Some people thought it was pork-barrelling. Mr TUXWORTH: That is right. Some people did think it was pork-barrelling, but it must be accepted that the construction of the new high school has had a great deal to do with encouraging people to remain in the town and send thei r chil dren on to hi gh schoo 1. I woul d 1 i ke to pay tribute to those famil ies because they have broken the ice. They have estab 1 i shed the precedent, and it will now become an accepted th i ng for children to complete their schooling in Tennant Creek if they wish to do so. I would like to raise another point tonight in relation to the gas pipeline. The Minister for Mines and Energy has ~ade a couple of statements in the media over the last 6 months about the possibility of the Territory supplying gas to Mt Isa. That is very important to us. If the Territory can do that, it will improve the economi c s of the Da rwi n to Ali ce Spri ng s 8865
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