Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)
Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990
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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 each year. That means that 33 000 people are affected each year by thi s horrendous situation. A member referred earlier to the Chernobyl disaster and the deaths which occurred as a result of that and - shock, horror - the whole of Europe trembled. I am not sure how many people died directly as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, but I wager that it was not many more than 3000. That resulted from an incident which might occur once in a lifetime. Nevertheless, in this nation, which has a population of only 16.5 million, 3000 people die on the roads every year. That is probably more than the number of Australian service people who were killed in Vietnam and probably more than the number killed in Korea. We are pretty blase about road deaths in this country. We just turn a blind eye and say, 'Qh we 11, it is 3000'. That is not good enough. I recall that, in 1983, Mr Hawke made a number of election promises, many of which were broken, particularly those which related to the Northern Territory. One promi se was that a federal Labor government woul d reduce the cost of fuel by 3 a 1 itre. Did that occur? No, si r! Duri ng that .election campaign, a document was issued by the Labor Party. It was headed, 'Labor Now!', and it was authorised by none other than Bob Collins, of 83 Lee Point. Road, Casuarina. The good Senator has since moved into town. Page 6 of the document referred to petro 1 pri ces. It sa i d: 'As part of Labor's anti-inflation package and in recognition of the burden of extra taxat ion 1 evi ed by the government on. people affl i cted by the wage freeze, Labor will reduce the pri ce of petro 1 by cance 11 i ng the 1 January 0 il pri ce increase of $3.23 per barrel. This will have the effect of reducing the price of petrol by in the order of 3 per 1 itre. It will al so reduce the consumer price index by half of one point'. Balderdash, Mr Speaker! like so many Labor promises, that promise was broken. The then Labor candidate for the House of Representatives, Mr Reeves, was quoted as saying that Territory petrol costs were too high. Mr Reeves said on 15 February that half of every dollar spent by Territorians on petrol went into federal Treasury coffers. Mr Ede: What year was that? Mr SETTER:. It would have been 1983. He said that Territorians were paying a disproportionately high amount for petrol and diesel and were gett i ng a pi ttance in return from the federa 1 government for roadworks. "'On ly 17% of fue 1 tax revenue is channe 11 ed back to the Territory for road construction", said Mr Reeves. "The rest is siphoned off for. other government projects'. The figure was 17%, Mr Speaker! Do you know what it is today? Excise at the bowser has increased by 300% since 1983. It has gone from 6 a litre at that time to 24 a litre today. That is fact. And wh.at percentage of that fuel exci se is returned as road fundi ng? A very small percentage indeed. Mr Smith: Well, what percentage is it? Mr SETTER: Avery small one. You tell me what percentage it is. I am quite sure that the minister Members interjecting. Mr SETTER: ... will tell us exactly what it is when he replies. I can tell members that, as a result of the decline in funding as a percentage of the road excise, there has been tremendous lack of development in our road infrastructure. The real ity is that roads such as the Pacific 8797
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