Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 7th Assembly 1994 - 1997




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 petrol as being above a fair revenue effort. It says it is above a fair revenue effort because the Territory has a relatively large usage of petrol and diesel. Savage increases in taxes and charges, such as those announced in this budget, lead not only to personal hardship, but to a flow-on effect in reduced spending and reduced employment. The opposition and economic commentators alike have been warning the government that the large debt load accumulated on non-productive assets, and assets that have had to be sold in fire sales, has been leading the Territory down the path of falling living standards. The Institute of Public Affairs believes that the tax increases announced in this budget are the largest imposed by any state, territory or Commonwealth government for the last 15 years. Average Territorians are being taxed savagely to pay for 15 years of debt mismanagement. The government continues with the deception that it has built $7000m-worth of assets for just $2000m-of debt. That is repeated in the budget papers. The claimed value of assets includes assets that were built with Commonwealth funds. It includes assets that have been sold and leased back to the Territory. It includes assets that have been re-valued from year to year at current values. It is a total fraud. Part of the legacy of the large, non-productive debt load built up by this government is the massive cut to capital works in this years budget. Capital works ... Mr Perron: Try and get a brickie. Mr EDE: ... have been cut by 20%. You may not be able to get a brickie in Darwin. The problem, Chief Minister, is that that is where your thinking stops. In my electorate and in other places in the Northern Territory, there are plenty of workers who could take up the slack. This would be a good opportunity to look beyond the Berrimah Line and do something for those places. This year, the government has made a massive cut of $40m in capital works. That comes on top of declining capital works in each of the last 6 years, as the impact of the Sheratons and the Yulara debacle bit into the budget. For the last 6 years, the Territorys expenditure on new fixed assets has been below the 6-state average. This year, it will be significantly below the 6-state average. For a young jurisdiction like the Northern Territory, with a large backlog of infrastructure needs, this is a disgrace. The Treasurer cannot pat himself on the back for having stopped building in the Territory. He should be hanging his head in shame. He cannot see beyond Berrimah. He cannot see the needs elsewhere in the Northern Territory. He is trying to paper over the declining level of capital works in the Territory by claiming an impact in Darwin that is not being felt elsewhere. He claims that there is a declining need for infrastructure. I can tell him that a very large capital investment is still needed to secure tourism road linkages to the Territory and to improve road loops for tourism purposes in the Territory. In my electorate of Stuart, all 3 major highways are in very bad condition. For years, the people along the Plenty Highway have been waiting for the bitumen to be extended out to Harts Range. I have spoken time and time again about the appalling condition of the Tanami Highway, bearing in mind its increased use. The Tanami Desert is one of the greatest gold areas in Australia. A new mine seems to be found every couple of hundred yards. It will be 3462