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




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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 jurisdictions debt. For the Territory, interest payments on our debt, as a proportion of total revenue, were 14% - $213m and well within the limit of $220m that I mentioned earlier - and that is in 1994-95, compared with an expected outcome for the states of 16.1%. The Territory ratio is about the same as that in Western Australia and New South Wales. Further, the Territory debt shows that, over the past 10 years, the Territory has moved closer to a state-like, revenue-raising effort. In 1985-86, the government raised $174m in the Territory or 17.2% of total revenue of $ 1010m. The remainder came from Commonwealth grants. There has been a fairly steady increase since then. In 1995-96, the ratio is 25.4% with budgeted own-source revenue of $395m. Another graph that I will seek leave to table relates to debt finance and own-source revenue. This graph uses a broader concept than revenue only. It adds to Territory borrowings and loans from the Commonwealth to provide a total source-of-funds concept. Our own-source revenues and debt finance are then plotted as a share of this broad total. We raised only 15% of our total funds from Territorians 10 years ago, and almost as much again went on debt financing. In effect, we were asking future generations of Territorians to pay for a share of those budgets on the basis that they would benefit from the infrastructure we had put in place. As I mentioned earlier, $7000m-worth of infrastructure has been put in place. As the proportion of capital expenditure has fallen, current Territorians are providing an increasing share of resources for the budget. Hence the rise in the proportion of own-source revenues to total funds. 1991-92 was an unusual year, with increases in all areas of revenue, Commonwealth and Territory, a slight decline in capital expenditure and reduced growth in current expenditure, following the ERC process in the preceding year. Mr Coulter: I remember it well. Mr SETTER: I am sure we all remember it well. One final graph relates to net interest compared with net revenue for 1994-95. Net interest is found when interest received on investments and lending is deducted from interest paid. In turn, interest receipts are deducted from total revenue to give net revenue. At 10.7%, the ratio for the Territory is lower than the 6-state average, making this the third-best jurisdiction behind a cashed-up Queensland and New South Wales which is able to shift its public sector infrastructure requirements, such as the Sydney Harbour tunnel, into the private sector. We expect this ratio to fall further, to 10.1%, in 1995-96. Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table those graphs. Leave granted. Mr SETTER: Mr Speaker, the other matter that I wish to raise in the few minutes that remain relates to Aboriginal health. It is an area that the Treasurer commented on, as did the Minister for Health and Community Services, indicating that there would be an increase in funding. In its budget, the Commonwealth increased funding for Aboriginal health by $103m over 4 years. We estimate the Northern Territory share - we do not know it yet - to be roughly $5m per annum over those 4 years. That is well below what is required. 3554