Territory Stories

Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government

Details:

Title

Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government

Creator

Hawthorne, Marilyn; Northern Territory Library. Parliamentary Library Service

Collection

Research Papers; ParliamentNT; Research paper; no. 2

Date

2000

Notes

Contact Library & Archives NT for this resource; Made available by via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)

Language

English

Subject

Railroads -- Northern Territory; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Railway

Publisher name

Northern Territory Library

Place of publication

Darwin

Series

Research paper; no. 2

File type

application/pdf

Use

Atttribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government

License

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

Parent handle

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/83440

Citation address

https://hdl.handle.net/10070/356590

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Page content

exaggerations that are contained in the Northern Territory government's submission serve only to damage the Territory further. The Hill Report does not condemn the railway forever. Its recommendation is that the expenditure cannot be justified at present. Absence of the railway will not destroy the Territory's growth potential. If the government wants to get the Territory moving now, it should be working in 3 areas. Firstly, it should ensure that the free port submission is sound, presenting the submission first with a discussion paper inviting wide public input and accepting critical comments. Secondly, it should develop a Territory bank to help develop Territory resources. Thirdly, it should develop a better relationship with its senior public servants to ensure the quality of government services is raised. Mr Speaker, knocking the Commonwealth government will not get the Territory anywhere. Mr HATTON (Nightcliff): Mr Speaker, before I start, I should respond to an incident that occurred yesterday. The Leader of the Opposition alluded to it in his speech. In his speech yesterday, the Chief Minister said: 'The Leader of the Opposition said that the findings of the Hill Report confirmed what most realistic people knew about the project, namely, that the railway could not be justified'. He went on to say that the report was the first exhaustive independent inquiry on the project. I have a copy of the press release from the Leader of the Opposition dated 21 February 1984, and, to clarify this matter, I should read it. It says: 'Labor leader, Bob Collins, says the findings of the Hill Report into the economic viability of an Alice Springs-Darwin rail only confirmed what most realistic people knew about the project. It is disappointing to the Territory but an economic reality that the expenditure of an anticipated $1000m by the year 2000 on the railway could not be justified against the economic advantages of developing the road infrastructure of the Territory'. It goes on to say: 'This report must be taken seriously as it is the first exhaustive economic independent inquiry undertaken and was led by Australia's foremost rail administrator, David Hill, who also is respected as an economist'. Mr Deputy Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition wants to deny subsequently what he has said in his press releases, I would urge him to ensure they are not in writing. They are quite clearly in conformity with what the Chief Minister said yesterday afternoon. Dealing briefly with a couple of the points that were made today, it was mentioned that Mr Fraser was brought screaming to the altar of the railway. We agree with that statement and it is evidence of the fact that this side of the Assembly is prepared to stand up to people on our side of politics when the interests of the Territory are at stake. The question arises whether people on the other side of the Assembly have the intestinal fortitude to do the same. Page 299 We heard again from the member for MacDonnell this afternoon the story about the budget deficit. It is about time we laid to rest the fallacious argument perpetrated by the federal government and its colleagues. It claims that it was left with a $9600m budget deficit last year. The fact is the budget deficit last year was $5700m. Certainly, that is higher than the projection but nowhere near the propaganda statements that have been made. Further, this government, which is so concerned about budget deficits, by its own actions increased the budget deficit by a net $1600m according to economists. It is wrong of the opposition and wrong of the federal government to keep perpetrating the view that they can get out of everything simply on the basis of a fanciful $9600m deficit. Mr Speaker, I propose to talk today on the technical evaluation of the Hill Report. In present value terms and with a real rate of return of 7% per annum, the Territory government estimates the project to have a positive net benefit of $340m in 1984 prices. This contrasts with the Hill Inquiry which estimated a net loss of $370m. The difference of some $700m is chiefly attributable to 3 major deficiencies in the inquiry's analysis: firstly, forecast of freight demand and assumptions relating to growth in demand; secondly. an assessment of the project on a corridor basis alone rather than a national basis; and, thirdly, an incorrect application of costs for the project and an inadequate documentation of the assumptions on