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 been $8m, $7.5m and $9m. The figure for this year is estimated to be $7m with $6.5m and $5.3m in succeeding years. These accounts are way above any level which could possibly reflect good management. I now turn to the doozey of them all - Yulara. In this case, Paul Everingham's speech to the parliament revealed nothing. He never did get around to telling us at the start what was supposed to happen. However, there is a document called 'A Report to the Under Treasurer - Financial Assessment of the Proposed Yulara Tourist Development*. For the benefit of the honourable Treasurer, it is dated 4 March 1982. He will have to look in the 'Strictly Confidential' file, because that is the label which it bears. It contains the original analysis of the projections on which the decision to go into Yulara were based. We have again converted the figures into 1991 dollars to enable comparisons to be made with the actual figures contained in the PAC report. In the first year, 1985, Yulara was supposed to be down by $12.7m and it was actually down by $8.9m. That was fine. In the next year, however, a projected loss of $9.9m became an actual loss of $12.3m. In succeeding years, the respective projected and actual losses were $7.2m and $9.7m, and $4.4m and $10.5m. In 1989, it was supposed to produce a $1.9m surplus which would rise to $4.6m, $7.2m and $10.lm in succeeding years through to the end of the projections. The actual amounts have been around the $llm to $13m level and are now projected to increase into the $15m to $18m range, tailing away into no-man's-land. At a time when we were supposed to be well into the profit zone, we have no chance of getting our money back. This is what happens when governments try to be secretive. This is what happens when governments do not tell people what is going on. After that exercise, does anybody still wonder why we are worried about debt? I also have information on the cumulative Northern Territory government pay-out for Yulara and the Sheratons. The line should have been around the $20m mark. We were told that it would be about $36m. What is happening, Mr Speaker? The line is shooting off the top of the page around the $280m level. Such decisions, made by CLP governments, make us justifiably worried. The government now talks about the need to fund capital works by prudent borrowings. Capital works programs need to be directed to projects which contribute to the development of economic and social infrastructure. Leaving the hotels aside, why did the government opt to build a lavish new Parliament House, when health facilities and roads are so inadequate? The government could have spent those capital works funds on real wealth creation programs such as geological surveys and water resource investigations which would have boosted our horticultural potential and given our economy a financial inflow. They could even have been used to avoid the need to dismantle our primary industry research capacity. The Treasury paper claims that the net cost of debt servicing for 1990-91 will be 8.1% of budget revenues. That budget has already been found to be rubbery in the razor gang's announced revised budget and, if one uses the ABS estimates, one finds that the real rate for 1990-91 will be 9.35%. That is a huge jump from the 7.4% used to service interest costs in the previous year. Net interest payments comprise only part of the picture. What about the new borrowings which are accumulating? The paper refers to the variation between states in reliance on debt finance, but carefully excludes any table which includes a comparison between the states. Mr Speaker, when you include new debt finance with net interest cost, our expenditure on debt 847

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