Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


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 - Wednesday 1 May 1991 is no doubt of course that the former Premier of Queensland left the financial position in Queensland in very good shape. In fact, Mr Goss inherited a state in extremely good economic condition. But, look at the rest, Mr Speaker. South Australia is at 9.1%, New South Wales 9.5%, Western Australia 9.5%, Tasmania 16.2% and Victoria 16.7%. The member for Karama will provide some figures for this House when he steps away from comparisons with states like Victoria and Western Australia and relates the figures back to gross Territory product. That is a very good basis on which to do a comparative analysis and members will see just how good a shape we are in. The Labor governments of Western Australia, Tasmania and Victoria are certainly on the nose as far as the public is concerned and it is true that part of the reason is accumulation of public debt. However, nobody is suggesting New South Wales is falling apart because of debt repayment problems and its measured capacity to meet interest payments is worse than ours. It seems to be an open secret that the New South Wales government will go to an election soon, and so far all the opinion pol 1 s suggest that Premier Greiner will be returned handsomely. What is the Territory Labor opposition talking about when it talks about the gloom and doom of the Territory debt position? Only yesterday, the Leader of the Opposition was forecasting that, by 1992-93, the Territory's ratio of net interest payments to total receipts would be as high as 16%. That figure is grossly misleading. Mr Ede: You got it wrong again! Mr COULTER: As I warned him yesterday, I will have Treasury officers check each and every figure he produces. His figure of 16% has been derived by including principal repayments of $88m which he is not entitled to do because the relevant comparison is interest to receipts. In any case, all but $7m of the $88m represents substitution of Commonwealth debt with semi-government debt as part of a recent arrangement between all states and territories with the Commonwealth. Thus, the $81m of the $88m he refers to as borrowings in 1992-93 is matched by receipts in the form of borrowings with no net effect on the budget and no net effect on the aggregate level of debt. The Leader of the Opposition is double counting. He has got it wrong once again, either deliberately or through ignorance. Mr Ede: You do not seem to be able to listen. Mr COULTER: Mr Speaker, the conclusion that can reasonably be drawn is that Labor in the Territory is trying to scare people without justifiable cause. In other words, it is simply politics. It has no basis other than that. Another matter the opposition carries on about constantly is the Territory's level of debt per capita. In addition to criticising the rate of growth in debt per capita, the opposition is critical of the absolute level of debt per capita. The Leader of the Opposition is fond of saying that the Territory has the highest debt per capita in Australia. Mr Ede: And it is true! Mr COULTER: Actually, it is not true, as the debt paper shows. Mr Ede: It is. Your figures are out of date. 839

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