Parliamentary Speeches, Debates and Public Statements about the Alice Springs to Darwin Railway since Self - Government
Hawthorne, Marilyn; Northern Territory Library. Parliamentary Library Service
Research Papers; ParliamentNT; Research paper; no. 2
Contact Library & Archives NT for this resource; Made available by via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT)
Railroads -- Northern Territory; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Railroads -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Railway
Northern Territory Library
Research paper; no. 2
Atttribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Northern Territory Government
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double the figure produced in the 1980 joint Northern Territory-Commonwealth report which gave growth rates for the period 1993 to 2003. The 1980 joint Northern Territory-Commonwealth report projected a 1.1% growth rate. The government now suggests this figure should be 5%. Using its exaggerated freight tonnages, the Northern Territory government produced a projected national saving of $400m. It produced an internal rate of return in one case of 13.7% over 40 years. Mr Speaker, if all of these factors were accurate, we would find it impossible to believe that the Northern Territory government would not undertake to build the line itself under the cost-sharing arrangement first proposed by the Commonwealth at a cost of $230m. The Northern Territory government suggests it can save $400m and yet does not go ahead and build the line because the government does not accept its own figures. The government suggests that the rail link will provide more competition along the central corridor. Mr Speaker, that competition already exists. Some 17 separate operators provide a highly-competitive freight service, as the Northern Territory Freight Inquiry Report shows. The government suggests large - up to 15% - savings in freight costs if the line is introduced. The Northern Territory Freight Inquiry puts the freight component of prices in Darwin at 5.8% of the cost difference between Adelaide and Darwin prices - not an excessive charge. Mr Speaker, the Northern Territory's Freight Inquiry Report clearly does not argue for a railway. As I have said, the Territory is coming under closer scrutiny in Canberra, specifically the bureaucrats in Treasury and the financial press are joining forces against the Territory. Therefore, it is up to us to argue our case for our railway or university or, in time, our free port, with care and consideration. We all know that care and consideration has been sadly and consistently missing in the case of the university submission and certainly it is not to be seen in the Northern Territory government's submission on the railway. If the Northern Territory government's submission is a correct assessment of the railway, if the government's technical assessment is correct, then it would seem to be irresponsible and negligent of the Northern Territory government not to go ahead with the railway under the 60:40 funding arrangement. After all, ANR will pick up the bill for the running costs. The government has focused its attack entirely upon the Hill Report, making that document the object of its anger. It should be looking at itself and its relationship with the Commonwealth and its way of operating to get round the institutionalised prejudices against the Territory. Mr Speaker, as an example of the Northern Territory government's belligerent attitude, let us just consider its attitude to the August federal budget. We need go no further back than that. There was a 17% increase in funds to the Northern Territory government and the promise of a $96m airport, both amounting to massive investments in the Territory. On both points, the Territory government delights in claiming the Commonwealth is cheating the Territory. All the Northern Territory government ever wants out of the Commonwealth is money. It is not prepared to be responsible for its own financial affairs. The lack of responsibility is shown in several ways. Wasteful expenditure and inadequate documentation of the government's affairs is one example. The present NTEC and TIO and past NTDC problems are all examples of inadequate information and bad administration. The Northern Territory Page 298 budget papers do not compare well with the detailed documents that are presented in the federal government budget papers. In many cases, the lack of information and documentation accompanying important government papers and statements serves only to weaken the government argument and leads to misrepresentations by the government, all serving to damage the credibility of the Territory. Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister promised the railway and the Labor Party in the Territory believes he should honour that promise. Where we differ from the government is that we accept that the line will run at a loss and there is no point in denying that. Bogus claims of future developments and ludicrous
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