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Wednesday, 3 November 1976

Mr ADERMANN (Fisher) (Minister for the Northern Territory) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

It is with some satisfaction that I present this measure to the Parliament. The purpose of the Bill is to facilitate the transfer of Australian Public Service staff to the Northern Territory Public Service as a further step in the constitutional development of the Northern Territory.

I have no doubt that there is general agreement among all members of this House that the people of the Northern Territory should be given greater control over their own affairs. It is the policy of the Government to progressively act to confer executive responsibility on the Legislative Assembly for the Northern Territory with the objective of advancing the Territory to Statehood. As I will indicate later, this policy commitment is significantly under way. It is clearly the consensus of this Parliament that the arrangements for the governance of the Northern Territory should more adequately reflect the views and aspirations of the local community. This sentiment is supported in the policy statements of all political parties represented in the Parliament. It was confirmed by the report of the joint parliamentary committee appointed to inquire into the constitutional development of the Northern Territory.

More recently, the Parliament approved during its last sittings, and without dissent, amendments to the Northern Territory (Administration) Act to facilitate the conferral of executive responsibility on the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. At that time I expressed satisfaction at the non-partisan approach which was adopted to that measure. Following the enactment of the amendments to the Northern Territory (Administration) Act, the Government announced its approval for the transfer to the control of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly of a wide range of functions of a local character. Our target date for the implementation of that transfer is 3 1 December 1976.I seek leave of the House to incorporate in Hansard a list of the functions which will be included in the initial transfer.

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