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 the razor gang problems were supposed to have arisen as a result of declining Commonwealth grants. Does he think that we should have a per capita debt level 4 or 5 times higher than the Australian average because we have such a high level of Commonwealth assistance? While the Chief Minister is writing his misleading little columns, which imply that debt growth would be a good thing, the Treasurer is running around saying that the current debt level is about right. Who is playing the organ? Mork or Mindy? The Treasurer made great play about the need to fund a prudent level of capital works from debt finance. But where has this government directed its capital works expenditure? To luxury hotels and resorts which could have been provided quite adequately by private entrepreneurs. This government makes great claims to understand the private enterprise sector of the economy yet it intervenes constantly and repeatedly as a partner in what should be the private sector's domain. It ejects owners from a casino and injects taxpayers' money into furniture factories. East Germany has offloaded a state-owned furniture factory, and I think even Albania is getting rid of a few. These Northern Territory government investments are thrown into the cupboard to add to the other skeletons of Northern Territory Inc left by Paul Everingham. Let us look at the Everingham legacy. The present Chief Minister cannot walk away from it because he was there at the time, hand-in-glove with the then Chief Minister. Based on the original estimates for Yulara and the Sheratons, the CLP government intended to inject a total of $30m into the projects. Whilst that was pretty amazing in itself, the latest PAC report was that the total injection of funds to 1996 will be $270m. That is a 900% blow-out. Is that what the Chief Minister refers to as prudent financial management? The government is caught in this situation and the public has to wear the consequences. Mr Speaker, I intend to table a series of graphs. One of them compares the predicted performance of Yulara and the Sheratons with their actual performance. It is based on original estimates and the PAC Report No 10. The original estimates, which I have used in the case of the Darwin Sheraton and the Alice Springs Sheraton, come from the speech Hon Paul Everingham made in this House whilst explaining what the cash flows would be at the time when we were moving into the deals. I will discuss the Alice Springs Sheraton first. What a project! The loss for 1986 was predicted to be $1.6m. It was $7.4m. The next year's loss was supposed t.o be $2.6m. It was $5.1m. The year after that, when it was supposed to be $2m, we managed $4m. In the succeeding year, when it was supposed to be $l.lm, we ended up $17.8m down the drain. In 1990, it was due to break almost even with a loss of $0.3m. In fact, it made a $6.4m loss. Mr Speaker, I might remind you that these figures are in 1991 dollars. In 1991, we were supposed to be in front by $200 000. Projections suggest that the loss will be about $5m. The loss in 1992 was to be $0.5m, but it is now projected to be $5m, and $4m in the following year. What an embarrassment! One line on the graph represents the expected performance and the other represents actual performance. It is quite shameful. Let us look at the Darwin Sheraton. The sources of base data again are Paul Everingham's speech in this House and the PAC report. It was supposed to start with a $4.3m loss but the actual figure was $7.5m. The figure was supposed to improve in succeeding years from $3m to $2.1m to $1.5m, and to move into a profit phase between 1994 and 1996. The actual figures have 846

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