Territory Stories

Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 29 November 2000



Questions Day 2 - Wednesday 29 November 2000

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Parliamentary Record 26


Questions for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001




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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QUESTIONS - Wednesday 29 November 2000 40-50 years. It still has a life of 30-40 years. It is a wonderful asset, a wonderful benefit to Territorians, and a great outcome for them. Purchase of Darwin to Katherine Transmission Line Mr HATTON to MINISTER for ESSENTIAL SERVICES Yesterday, the opposition claimed that Power and Water Authority customers will be footing the bill for this purchase of the Darwin to Katherine transmission line. Can the minister advise honourable members and Territorians whether there is any truth in this scaremongering tactic and can he give any guarantees that consumers will not be paying any more for their power as a result of the purchase? ANSWER Mr Speaker, I thank the honourable member for his question, and I thank him also for his contribution to the debate yesterday. The media commentators who read the debate - and there were some of them who read it this morning - 1 think would be well-educated to read the entire contributions that were made, including the member for Nightcliff s contribution. I think his contribution yesterday was excellent. Lets cut to the quick. The issues we are talking about here are a series of questions from the opposition. If we look at yesterdays lead item, the opposition posed this question. The Leader of the Opposition, Clare Martin, said: How do you then protect consumers from having to pay higher tariffs? You cant. If you borrow heavily, then there has to be - it's got to give somewhere, and that is going on higher tariffs. I guess if we answer that question, we can put some of this rhetoric to bed. The difficulty the Leader of the Opposition has is that she asked several questions when really that is the fundamental question she wants answered. I am happy to answer it this morning. There is about as much chance of power bills going up due to this purchase as the West Indies having a series win over Australia this summer. The assurance I gave on radio this morning is that as a result of this purchase ... Mr Stirling: I will remind you of this when power bills go up. Mr DUNHAM: No, you have to listen to the words that come out of the mouth. What I am saying is, as a result of this purchase, power bills will not go up. I am quite happy to say that categorically this morning. You should bear in mind also that those comments were made prior to yesterdays debate in this House, so it should give Territorians listening to the broadcast ample proof of just how mischievous, irresponsible, deceitful and factually incorrect the Leader of the Opposition is. Prior to the debate, prior to her being educated in this matter, she lamely comes out and says that there is no capacity for this purchase to reduce power bills. I will categorically assure Territorians this morning, on the parliamentary record, they will not be paying more for their power bills as a result of this purchase. Now, the opposition has once again been caught out giving truth a back seat while the lie drives on. So we have a problem where, having answered that one, having put that one to bed, they will probably go back to their age-old rhetoric of saying that we pay the highest tariffs in Australia. And let me tell the House that is also untrue. We pay the third- highest. The latest figures I have show that the Territory pays, on our comparison of commercial and domestic tariffs, the third-highest - lower than Melbourne and Adelaide. Lets not forget, when we go back to the impact of the GST, the quote from Labor: Everything, including your power bills, will skyrocket. I can inform honourable members that the net impact of the GST has resulted in lower total price increases in the NT than all other states. Our commercial tariffs are also currently in third place, and they have experienced even greater real-terms price reductions, which I mentioned in my statement yesterday but is worthy of repeating this morning. Since 1990, the real-terms price of commercial electricity in the Northern Territory has declined by 12.6%, inclusive of GST. When you exclude GST, which businesses can do, in real terms commercial electricity charges for non-contestable customers have declined by 19.9% since 1990. Remember who the beneficiaries of this are - Territorians. When businesses can reduce their real power costs by that quantum, the beneficiaries are the people who purchase from those businesses. This has come as a result of the sound CLP management of our power resource here in the Northern Territory. Since we opened it up to commercial competition earlier this year, I am extremely confident we will be able to not only maintain our downward trend in power costs, but perhaps even accelerate that downward trend. 1250