Territory Stories

Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020



Debates and Questions - Day 1 - 24 April 2020

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Parliamentary Record 27


Debates and Questions for 13th Assembly 2019 - 2020; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




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Debates and Questions

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES AND QUESTIONS Friday 24 April 2020 8364 the Territory remain at very low levels. It was wonderful to hear the Health minister say that 20 of the 28 cases have recovered. There is also no community transmission. We have done a good job. Unfortunately, it is not the same for other places around the world with people passing away. In the Territory there have been 28 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 20 people recovered and 3800 tests were conducted with no new cases reported in the last two-and-a-half weeks. The Australian Deputy Chief Medical Officers comments that the Territory, is in a very enviable position right now are very welcome; however, it is a reminder that we cannot be complacent as we work towards returning the Territory to the way of life we enjoy. Our enviable position is no accident. Yes, we are the safest place in Australia because of the hard work of all Territorians. We said at the start that we would do whatever it takes, but tough public health decisions to shut down economic activity to limit the spread of COVID-19 are having a sharp and severe impact on Territory businesses, national businesses and global businesses. Locally we are seeing the impact on tourism, hospitality and retail sectors. Of course, the Territory is not alone in this. The COVID-19 pandemic is taking its toll on the global economy and Australia is no exception. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australia is likely to experience the greatest economic contraction since the Great Depression, nearly 100 years ago. The Australian Governments economic response to the Coronavirus pandemic is like nothing this country has seen before. It dwarfs the Global Financial Crisis stimulus package, with payments for JobSeeker and JobKeeper, as well as wage subsidies and support for businesses. The Northern Territory Government has worked in collaboration with the Commonwealth supporting the directions of the National Cabinet every step of the way. The Territory government is complementing the Commonwealths economic response with unprecedented action to protect Territory businesses and to save Territory jobs. Together we have announced over $1bn in support for Territorians over the next six months. The Commonwealths JobKeeper payments support the wages and jobs of around 45 000 Territory workers and helps around 7000 businesses to pay wages and keep workers on. The Territory government has acted swiftly to save jobs and livelihoods: We have set up the Territory jobs hub to match employees and available jobs in the Territory. We have announced the job rescue and recovery fund, of which there have been more than 700 applications to the Business Improvement Scheme. The Immediate Works Grants have been taken up swiftly. The Home Improvement Scheme had a huge response. We have frozen the indexation of regulatory fees and charges and frozen electricity prices for household customers. We established the Small Business Survival Fund and are processing 1000 applications from businesses seeking support. We have established a worker and welfare fund to support workers, particularly those who do not qualify for JobKeeper or are suddenly out of work. We have acted swiftly to support our tourism and aviation sectors. We have brought forward capital works to make sure there is enough construction going forward. That is a very important employer of people. The Territory government has also established significant and targeted business relief packages for those who are suffering hardship. We are reducing payroll tax for those who qualify. We are reducing utility bills for businesses. We are providing incentives for commercial landlords to reduce rent and we are working with councils to reduce rates. Because a dollar that does not have to be spent on payroll or power will be a dollar that can be spent on keeping a Territorian in a job. If we are well and healthythankfully the Territory has been going well we will rebound more quickly. Madam Speaker, reducing utilities bills for businesses is the reason we are introducing the Utilities Legislation Amendment Bill today.