Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (16 February 1989)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Thursday 16 February 1989 something to do with Darwin. Itis north of the Ti Tree line and therefore he would not have any interest in the subject at all. Mr Collins: There is nothing wrong with the Ti Tree line. Mr HATTON: I do not say there is but I like to look at both sides of it. The subject I would like to deal with is a matter that is developing in the community in Darwin. It is a local government matter. Members may have seen some public comment about moves by the Darwin City Council with respect to the public swimming pools in Darwin. There are 2 aspects that are of concern to me. The first is the extent to which the Darwin City Council is proposing to move in i,ts so-called privatisation of the swimming pools. The second is a decision that has been taken recently in relation to the charge~ that the council will levy for the cost of coaching rights at the pools. I will deal with the privatisation issue first. I would ask honourable members to recognise that, as is generally the case throughout thp Territory, the public pools in Darwin were provided by the government, free of cost to the council. Certainly the council meets the maintenance and operating costs. Qarwin City Council says that it costs some $50 000 a year net to operate a swimming pool. That sounds like a great deal of money but the figure should be put into perspective. It would be about equivalent to the total cost to council of hiring an accounts clerk in its office at a salary of about $25 000 a year. When the oncosts are taken into account, that figure would be at least doubled to cover the cost of employing that person. The costs of operating a swimming pool would more appropriately be compared with the costs of maintaining an oval, which are in excess of $20 000 per annum. The swimming pools are important public amenities for the community. Certainly, a charge should be levied for their use, but they provide a valuable and important public amenity to the people of Darwin. Over the years, I have spent some time at swimming pools. We know that, throughout the wet season, we should not swim in the ocean because of the sea wasps. We know that we should not swim in billabongs and rivers. because of crocodiles. That means the only safe places to go for a swim are perhaps Howard and Berry Springs or the public swimming pools. In Darwin's wet season, it is import~nt for people to be able to have a swim in those public facilities. I can advise honourable members that they are well used, and not just by the dedicated swimmers. If anyone goes to any public pool at 6 am, he will find numerous peoplp doing laps as a form of physical exercise which is good for their health. Also, quite a number of young people train in the public pools in the mornings and afternoons. During the day, groups of children from schools can be seen doing learn-to-swim programs and survival swimming, learning lifesaving and undertaking Austswim programs. Vacswim programs are conducted during school vacations. Pensioners go to Nightcliff swimming pool a couple of mornings a week at mid-morning to participate in a recreation and exercise program. There is a range of other uses for the pools. They are important community assets. In any process of privatisation - and I have been a supporter of privatisation of this, that and the other thing in the Territory - one must ask to what extent any government should privatise. Already, private contract managers are running the pools as their own businesses. That is a form of privatisation. If one privatises the pools totally, will the private operators be able to charge whatever they like? If that is the case, what arrangements will be made for the pensioners, disadvantaged people, schoolchildren and social security recipients who use the pools at 5612

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