In brief


Updated: NT Government “steering towards worst fiscal outcome since self-government”
Shadow Treasurer, John Elferink, said the Treasurer’s Mid-Year Report should be a reminder to Territorians that the government has lost control of the budget and is now living off its credit card.
Key figures include:
• The $1.5billion current net debt will blow out to $2.8billion in 2014-15.
• A predicted $729million deficit in the year 2013.
• A net debt to revenue ratio of 62% by 2014-15.
• A failure to outline a timeframe to return the budget to surplus.
“The Labor Party is steering the Territory budget towards its worst fiscal outcome since Self Government,” Mr Elferink said.
Long wait
Only 52% of emergency presentations to Territory hospitals were seen on time, according to Shadow Health Minister Matt Conlan.
He says data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows 58% of emergency department arrivals were seen within the recommended median waiting time – considerably below the national rate of 70%.
The data also shows the median waiting time for semi-urgent emergency presentations was over an hour.
Shower with a friend?
The Alice Water Smart Home Water Efficiency Consultations is a bit of a mouthful but it’s working for some, says Les Seddon, project manager for the Alice Water Smart Homes and Businesses.
“In one household we quickly discovered and made recommendations to fix a number of small leaks that will potentially save the homeowner around 800 kilolitres (kL) per annum, or about 90,000 buckets of water, and a whopping $1,000 off their annual water bill,” says Mr Seddon.
“In other homes a recommendation for a simple adjustment of the evaporative air conditioner can see around 160kL saved, and $200 off the water bill.
“The best thing is that saving water doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your lifestyle or garden.”
Big Brother?
Public housing tenants are unfairly targeted through recent legislative amendments, says Mark O’Reilly, from the Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service.
“The creation of Public Housing Safety Officers (PHSOs) is not an appropriate or useful response to managing anti-social behaviour exhibited on public housing premises.
“The NT has existing criminal and civil laws which provide adequate remedies for illegal or nuisance behaviour and NT Police are the most appropriately placed to respond to such behavior.”
PHSOs are appointed public servants who are authorised to give directions to people on public housing premises who they believe are engaging or will engage in antisocial behaviour or conduct constituting a prescribed liquor or criminal offence.
The PHSO can direct the person to stop or not engage in the conduct or leave the premises and, where the person is not a tenant or registered occupier of the premises, can ban the person from entering the premises for up to 12 months.
In these ways, the Bill gives public servants powers previously limited to the police.
“The creation of PHSOs serves only to further stigmatises public housing tenants as irresponsible and bad neighbours and demand from them a higher standard of behaviour than is required from other NT residents,” says Mr O’Reilly.


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