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 it is doing and what it will cost us in 5, 10 and 15 years time. Unfortunately, as I said, we have not received a single indication from the government that it does know that. We are going along on this year-by-year basis. We keep being served information that is 2 or 3 years old, which does not give us an accurate idea of where we are today let alone a projection of where we might be at some time in the future. That is the problem that we have. A person can have no confidence in the government in relation to this matter because some of the deals that the government has entered into have gone so badly wrong. The figures that the Leader of the Opposition has indicated tonight on the blow-out of the Yulara and the Sheraton debts are quite staggering. The debt was $30m and that was our total contribution for those projects at the time they were put in place. The PAC now tells us it is $270m. To put it another way, those original projections indicated that our contribution in this year was to be $700 000 in support of Yulara and the 2 Sheratons, but what are we paying? We are paying $20m because the original projections were so far out. That is a problem, and that is one of the reasons why we have had to borrow so much money. It is to pay for those bad mistakes that were made in 1982-83. That is one of the reasons why we do not have any confidence in the government selling us the message that we should trust it and everything will be all right. It tells us that we are not doing any worse than anywhere else in Australia. Mr Perron: We are doing better. Mr SMITH: Frankly, we do not trust you because of things like the way the Sheratons and the Yulara have been mishandled, and the costs today compared with the projections in 1982-83. We do not trust you. We want some information. I would have thought that the provision of information on these key issues was part of the obligation that you have as the government of the Northern Territory. I have to say that members of the opposition have had some success in extracting information from this government over the past few years. We do have much more detailed budget papers now than we have had in the past. Some departments are now becoming involved in program budgeting. To a large extent, that is because of the efforts of people like the former member for Nhulunbuy, who kept on pushing those types of things year after year. We will keep pushing this particular issue because it is important. We need to know what our debt levels will be in the next few years. We need to know the details of the government's broad borrowing program, subject to all the constraints on it, over the next few years. That kind of information should be available. The government should be thinking 3, 5 and 10 years ahead. That information should be lodged somewhere in Treasury. The government should know the consequences of decisions which it might want to make in the next few years in relation to how much money it wants to borrow. In fact, it is possible to go even further. Sophisticated models exist which can work out the impact of various scenarios on the local economy. That relates to one of the unanswered questions which we asked yesterday. We asked whether the ERC cuts were fed into any kind of model to work out the impact that they will have on the broader community. I would certainly be interested in receiving an answer on that. The time has passed when governments do to these things off the seat of their pants. We live in a modern, sophisticated economy and it is time that the Northern Territory government started to use sophisticated modern 855

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