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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 8370 The RBA came out very clearly early on; the federal Treasury came out clearly. Our Treasury responded with very firm advice, which is that we need to support businesses through this. That is why we have taken swift and decisive action to put in place stimulus measures to keep people in jobs and support businesses. We put together the Small Business Survival plan and packages like the Worker and Wellbeing Fund to support the people who have never had to apply for job payment assistance because of losing their jobs. A lot of people are finding themselves in a completely new boat, so we are giving them the support they need so they can rebound when businesses are ready to employ more people. As a Territory we are doing well. We are the best; we are ahead of the pack. There is no doubt that is because we made fast decisions, the right decisions and some very hard decisions. Territorians have done the right thing. They have been magnificent in this very challenging time; I applaud them. That is what this legislation is about. This is an unprecedented time. That is why we are applying a greater level of scrutiny to how the government is managing COVID-19the impact of the monthly Public Accounts Committee meetings to scrutinise the decisions. It will be a very important process, which is why we have those in place. It will be a very good process, indeed. After every National Cabinet, the Chief Minister has spoken to Territorians about the decisions made by the National Cabinet and the decisions the Northern Territory is making. We have been very clear and transparent about that. People have heard many details through that. This legislation is very important to support businesses that need it, as quickly as possible. There is no doubt it will come at a cost. This will be foregone revenue; it is money that will be lost to the Northern Territory just payroll tax is an important revenue base to the Northern Territory. We have been doing everything we can to reshape what we do and put as much money as we can into the COVID-19 response. Some of the things we cannot do at the moment create savings for the government. Travel bills are not adding up, so we are restructuring to direct vital funds to the COVID-19 response. That is how we are looking to manage as much of this as possible, including how we will deal with lost revenue. This will mean that more businesses will be standing at the end of COVID-19. More businesses will be ready to contribute to the revenue base and our population, delivering important goods and services into the future in the Northern Territory. I thank the members who contributed to this bill and parliament for supporting this urgent and important bill to deliver the power, water and sewerage bill relief these businesses need so they can support jobs and be standing at the end of COVID-19. Motion agreed to; bill read a second time. Consideration in detail Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to. Clause 4: Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Treasurer, how did the government decide on the 50% reduction in the regulated business tariff? Ms MANISON: We had very strong feedback from businesses that they needed a discount in their power, water and sewerage prices and we thought that 50% was a good number that reflected something workable for those businesses. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: How much does the government expect this measure to add to the consumer service obligation? Ms MANISON: Firstly, we are trying to restructure budgets to look for savings to pay for some of the revenue losses. I need to stress that. We will see revenue losses through areas such as payroll tax and the payment of these bills. We are trying to restructure where we can. Our initial estimate, and this would be a worst case scenario, is that water and sewerage could come to $14m and electricity could be about $31m. Mrs FINOCCHIARO: Does that mean the remainder of the $180m is for payroll tax relief?