Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 23 May 1995

Other title

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





Publisher name

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

Place of publication


File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

DEBATES - Tuesday 23 May 1995 most bitterly is that we could do something about that situation. I would like to be in government and have the resources of government to address those problems. Mr Reed: But people dont trust you. Mr BELL: That is absolutely right. The people who live in Darwin and Alice Springs have been persuaded by successive Country Liberal Party ministers that a Labor government in the Northern Territory would see a massive shift of resources from the towns to the bush. However, that does not excuse this governments failure to address the problem. Let me turn to the fiscal management strategy. Once again, we heard the Treasurer attempting to congratulate himself by saying that he maintains standards of services for Territorians. At page 6, he stated: Turning to our core fiscal strategy, to ensure that we maintain standards of services for Territorians, we have reviewed our objective in respect of current expenditure growth and consider it appropriate to finetune the strategy. The fact is that a comparison of expenditure on capital works in successive budgets indicates that we have seen a dramatic decrease in the level of capital works in the Northern Territory. The 1994 annual report gave annual figures for actual expenditure on capital works at about $ 145m. That contrasted with a figure in 1989-90 of $ 194m. The $194m spent in 1989-90 has to be, in real terms, about 50% more than is being spent currently on capital works. The fact is that this government has become involved in a debt trap. What it used to refer to as its tourism infrastructure strategy, which is referred to rather more accurately as its luxury hotel strategy by some observers, has locked this government into record interest rate payments. It is not good enough for the minister to say that these interest rate payments are quite adequate because they remain below the average in the states. Interest payments in places like South Australia have seen governments go to the wall. We are entitled to ask why this government has not gone to the wall. One of the reasons that that has not happened is ... Mr Reed: Good management. Mr BELL: Certainly - but not good management of the Territory finances so much as good management of the media. There is not a journalist in the Northern Territory equipped to deal with reporting accurately on the financial strategy of CLP governments. Interest payments in the Northern Territory are a disaster. This year, the government is borrowing another $122m, and it has reduced capital works expenditure. It is not good enough. This government is falling into a debt trap. I mentioned in passing that there was been inadequate reporting of the disastrous fiscal strategies adopted by successive CLP governments. I must say that it is disappointing. Bert Evatt would turn in his grave if he saw what is not being spent on infrastructure in bush electorates and that even the Evatt Foundation itself manages to obfuscate the disastrous performance of this government. I must say that, given the Evatt Foundations presumed connection with the labour movement, that is very disappointing. Mr Reed: So it is wrong too? 3530