Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003

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Parliamentary Record 11


Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005




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 - Thursday 1 May 2003 responsibilities on behalf of Territorians as we should do. So, I seek leave to continue my remarks at a later date. Leave denied. Madam SPEAKER: Leave was denied. Members inteijecting. Madam SPEAKER: Well then, we need to adjourn debate. No? You just want to stop it. Mr REED: You want to gag the debate on this important bill? Several hundred million dollars! Madam SPEAKER: Leave has not been granted to you, member for Katherine to continue your remarks ... Mr REED: Well, Madam Speaker, if that is the case, I will continue with my remarks in the remaining 11 minutes. Madam SPEAKER: You may finish your time, yes. Mr REED: The member for Nelson may want to contribute to this debate. There is clearly no opportunity for any other member of parliament to be able to fully scrutinise this very important document. Mr Stirling: You have had it for two days. Mr REED: We have had it for two days. Two days is not very long, Madam Speaker, to be able to scrutinise a report to this extent. I, at least in perusing the report, was able to find the error, if you like, in relation to the GBDs. The honourable Treasurer, as he indicated this morning in a response, was not even aware that his figures had been presented or interpreted incorrectly. So, I will proceed. It will be a matter that I will be drawing to the attention o f Territorians because, if $170m of cash reserves have been spent; if $169m of additional Commonwealth grants have evaporated; if debt has increased by $280m; if the interest payments on debt have increased by $ 15.7m a year - that is to say Territorians are now paying an extra SI.3m per month on interest payments on the additional loans that this government has taken out over the last 12 months - then Territorians need to be able to get full and detailed information about this. They need to know why, in addition to the $ 169m extra that this government has received from the Commonwealth, they found it necessary to go and borrow another $100m. What is unfair about these questions? Why shouldnt Territorians be allowed to fully scrutinise this report? Why is the government so frightened of this report that they table it and want it debated here in Alice Springs this week, and they do not want it to reappear on the Notice Paper so it can be further debated in Darwin where it might be open to more scrutiny? That is a government in hiding. That is a government you would expect to be in hiding when they have concealed $ 17.7m worth of debt that they have not included in their reports, when they have spent... Mr Stirling: That is a lie! Mr REED: Madam Speaker, I ask the Treasurer to withdraw his assertion that that is a lie. Madam SPEAKER: Treasurer, withdraw. Mr Stirling: I withdraw it is a lie. Madam SPEAKER: Just withdraw. Mr Stirling: I withdraw. Mr REED: Madam Speaker, in my remaining time, I will touch some other points, as much as it might upset the government. However, I am going to fulfil my duty as best I can in the limited time that they have provided. I ask members to turn to page 29. I notice that none of the members are too interested in any of this, and they should be highly interested. As I do not have much time, by way of example I will make reference to some issues. First o f all, perhaps page 27. It is a very telling graph on page 27 at the top, the five-year trend in the level of nett debt. We hear a lot about the awful circumstances that the CLP government were supposed to have left for this incoming Labor government to inherit. I point out that, in that graph in 1997-98 when I was Treasurer, the nett debt was $ 1,3bn. In 2001 -02, that has grown to $1.74bn. If you just look back to 2000-01, my last budget, it was only $1.4bn. Nett debt in 21 months under this Labor government has increased by $300m. No mention o f that from the Treasurer in his presentation tonight; and he might well have a red face because he deserves to. I ask members who are sufficiently interested in this to turn page 29. Have a look at the five-year trend in nett debt to total revenues, where both are based on the UPF and FPS basis. It has gone from 69.4% in 2000-01 when I was Treasurer, to 77.8%. 3989