Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 21 October 1993

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Parliamentary Record 21


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




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 - Thursday 21 October 1993 The minister stated that these claims were being assessed in the proper manner yet correspondence provided to the opposition by subcontractors, of which the minister is well aware because he admitted as much yesterday, makes it perfectly clear that no assessment of those claims at all had been undertaken as recently as 1 October this year. The government has been sitting on these claims and stalling on them for some 12 months now while local businesses go slowly broke. So much for the government's deep concern for Territory jobs and businesses! I know specifically of local small businesses each of which have outstanding claims approaching $lm. Each of those businesses undertook that work over a year ago, in good faith and at the request of the government and its contract supervisors, in the not unreasonable expectation that they would be paid within a reasonable period of time. However, even now, the minister writes to these businesses to tell them that, with a little luck, their claims may be processed by Christmas, and he expects them to be grateful for that. No small business can carry $lm in unpaid debts for a year and a half and expect not to go broke. Indeed, one wonders whether the minister and his cronies have devised a master plan to contain State Square costs by sending all the subcontractors bankrupt before they can collect on the money that is owed to them. Mr Speaker, this minister has not only misled and lied over subcontractors claims, he has also followed a consistent calculated policy of lies and deceit since the opposition began raising concerns over the ever-increasing cost of State Square a few months ago. Let us go over the history of the concerns that I have raised with the minister and in the public arena over the last couple of months, and we will soon see who is telling lies and who is covering up. I tell you, Mr Speaker, that it is the minister sitting opposite. The facts prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. The events in relation to State Square began when I uncovered 1988 documents indicating clearly that the $100m State Square price tag that was being talked about in fact included allowances for inflation up to and including 1991- I suggested, therefore, that that cast considerable doubt on the minister's assertion that $21.5m-worth of cost blow-outs over and above that $100m could be accounted for by inflation because allowance for that was already built into the contract. The minister attempted to counter that by claiming that I was referring to a previous proposal that was never implemented. While it was certainly true that the method of financing State Square changed between .. . Mr Finch: Where is this document that you are talking about? Mr PARISH: It was been provided to the minister's office and to the media. While it was certainly true that the method of financing State Square changed between April 1988 and the deal being signed in November, what the minister conveniently failed to mention was that neither the scope of the project nor its costings were materially altered during that time. Mr Finch: They were! Mr PARISH: What makes this even more absurd is that the government claims that it paid $1.75m to Tipperary for development work, for costing the project and for preparing the conceptual designs. From the documents that I had uncovered, it would seem that Tipperary had done something at least - namely, work out some kind of estimate for inflation. Nevertheless, the minister would have us believe that the inflation allowance was deleted. One can only draw 2 inferences from that. The first is that it 10 136

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