Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 23 April 1997

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Parliamentary Record 32


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 - Wednesday 23 April 1997 assets such as the Territory Insurance Office, NT Fleet or other agencies. Mr Speaker, I move that the Assembly take note of the statement. Mrs HICKEY (Opposition Leader): Mr Deputy Speaker, there is no doubt that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and we are very pleased to note that the Country Liberal Party has adopted the Labor Partys policy from the 1994 election campaign wherein we stated that we would achieve a reduction in debt-servicing levels within the first 4-year term by adopting certain policies. These included selling 100% of the governments shareholding in Ayers Rock Resort Corporation and using the proceeds to reduce debt. We said also that we would sell the Trade Development Zone assets to private sector operators and use the proceeds to reduce debt. To some extent, the Treasurer is having a bet both ways by saying he is speaking about the possible sale of government assets. Let me say how sad it is that we have a Treasurer who seems to hedge his bets in this sort of way. I must say that I better enjoyed the delivery of the previous Treasurer who was always forthright and who, when he had a statement to make, was never limp-wristed about it. He got on with it and stated what the government intended to do, not what it might possibly do. This was much more the style of a Treasurer with the reputation that this Country Liberal Party government enjoys. We certainly support the governments investigation of the proposals that we made, and we welcome this statement. We understand that what the government is able to do ... Mr Reed inteijecting. Mrs HICKEY: The Treasurer inteijects. This certainly was the way we were to have gone before lunch. If we had had the opportunity to speak at that time, the statement would have been the same although it would have been delivered by a different person. These are certainly very substantial infrastructure investments that the Treasurer is talking about, but the reality is that the Ayers Rock Resort, in particular, has not been a financial bonanza. At page 2 of the Treasurers statement, profit figures are given for the last 3 years for the Ayers Rock Resort, but what is not mentioned is the amount that the government has invested in total in this infrastmcture over the years. What will the financial return be on that investment? The member for MaeDonnell will have something to say about that issue. It is a matter that he has spoken about consistently in this House, and it is something that the opposition has examined the government on thoroughly in the past and, of course, it has been found wanting. Obviously, the important issue here is what the financial return will be. While I appreciate that the Treasurer is unable to anticipate the sale process, my point is that, in considering the role of government in infrastmcture provision, we need to look at the total return and that means the financial return on the project and the benefits and costs to the community. The Treasurers statement to this Assembly contains no data at all about the historical cost of the Ayers Rock Resort or the Trade Development Zone, and it should. While it is recognised that it would embarrass the government, nevertheless, if the Treasurer wishes to make a statement of this kind, he should present both sides of the equation. He needs to look at the historical context and know what it has cost taxpayers over the years. We know that it 11394