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 We will not be blackmailed. Despite Ralph Willis' assertion, road funding is a key element in the saving of lives on our roads. The Prime Minister himself says that is the case, yet he sits on his money in Canberra while, all around this country, people are dying on substandard roads like the Victoria Highway. Mr Speaker, let me tell you about highway funding in the Northern Territory since 1984 when the federal Labor government's first road funding scheme swung into action. It is a fact that highway funding in the Northern Territory has dropped by 44% in that period - nearly by half - and that is an outrage. Our federal member, Mr Warren Snowdon, really has his finger on the pulse. Last week, he went on commercial radio talking about funding commitments that he has obtained for the 'Victoria River Highway'. He cannot even get the name ri ght, 1 et a lone wi n a fa i r dea 1 for Territory roads. When the rest of Australia was handed a share of an inflation-linked 10% increase in road funding, how much of that extra $120m has Wa rren Snowdon been able to secure for the Terri tory? Zero. That is how much. And that is about as much as Mr Warren Snowdon is worth to the Territory. Nevertheless, he is quite happy, as are his Labor Party mates in this Chamber, to go along with the Prime Minister's 10-point blackmail package so that the Territory can secure a miserable $5m to attend to 'black spot' problems during the next 3 years. It would cost nearly $1.5m by way of compulsory contributions to receive that money, plus $2.5m to implement. That does not add up. The Victoria Highway is one giant 'black spot' which will take quite a bi t more than $5m over 3 years to fi x. I will tell you how much it will take to fix - $20m a year for 5 years. That is how much! But, I will be fair to Warren Snowdon. If Bob Brown calls me tomorrow and says, 'Fred, that $100m for the Victoria Highway is there because Warren Snowdon has been hammeri ng on my door day and ni ght about it', then and on 1 y then will I think about ceasing to remind Territorians that Warren Snowdon has cost the Territory millions in road funding. In the meantime, let me remind Warren Snowdon and his colleagues in this Chamber that decent people do not bow to, blackmail and that road funding and road safety are serious concerns which are being dealt with in a responsible manner by thi s government. The same cannot be sa i d of the Labor side of politics, particularly following today's announcement by the federal minister, Mr Brown, that he is to introduce a $100m only incr'ease to highway funding, most of which will go to the Pacific Highway in New South Wales without any commitment to the Territory road system. As well as that, he had the audacity to smokescreen the real facts behind the black spot funding. He increased it magically overnight from $llOm to $120m, but forgot to mention that it was over 3 years and was subject to blackmail. There i s only 1 state ,or territory i n Austral i a that wi 11 accept the blackmail and that is Victoria because, coincidentally, it happens to have each and everyone of the 10 poi nts already in place and has had for some time. Nobody else in Australia, Labor states included, will accept being held to ransom over much-needed road funding. Mr Deputy Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mr LEO (Nhulunbuy): Mr Deputy Speaker, I guess that this House is to be subjected to the Minister for Transport and Works attempts to have the CLP's candidate elected. I suppose we will have to get used to this while the House is sitting. The display that he gave this morning was not one of his 8786
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