Territory Stories

Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 4 December 2013



Debates Day 5 - Wednesday 4 December 2013

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Parliamentary Record 9


Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Hansard Office

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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 4 December 2013 3138 The minister and the department have made overtures and efforts to relocate badminton. We have made an offer to go part of the way to covering the costs of a shed in Woolner, but that was not acceptable because it was too expensive. Well, if it is expensive for the people of badminton, a $10m grant, whether it is a handover of an asset or in cash, is expensive for the people of the Northern Territory. When, in government, you are presented with this is the way it has to be or nothing at all, then that is the way you respond. If Badminton NT was to come back and say, We think we have located a site. We think we can find a way to move the shed on site at the moment. We think we have found a way to cover the ongoing costs of electrical, water, etcetera, of that relocated shed bring that to government, then government will look at it, and perhaps there is a result. I like that sort of lateral thinking. Lateral thinking has been absent. I cannot justify, as a person who tries to be personally financially responsible in his own home because I know the importance of financial responsibility, being financially irresponsible. I listen to the members of the Labor Party opposite. In Question Time today alone, they would have spent $100m. You have to bail out Rio, we have to do all sorts of things Ms Lawrie: Bail out Rio? Who on earth is asking you to bail out Rio? Mr ELFERINK: You have to spend lots of money on Rio. You do not put a figure on it. We have to spend all this money on Education and on badminton. There was $100m or thereabouts spent in Question Time in one hour. That is the way these people spend money. That is why we are in this situation! This is the frustrating thing. I would love to say yes every time, but I understand the reality that sometimes you just have to say no. I do not like saying no. I take no grim pleasure out of it, but that is the situation we are in: a $5.5bn debt. This is something we have to live with. I would absolutely love to be able to start government with a clean slate every time. But you do not, you inherit the debt you have been given, and you have to be able to manage it. I heard the former Treasurer saying rubbish. When there is a Moodys downgrade looming, it is not rubbish, it is real, it is coming, and it is because of the legacy we have been left. But you cannot put money in front of people. That was the solution in other countries we have seen in the last few years and they cannot support any sports anymore because they are too busy paying off their debt. We are spending hundreds of thousands every day in interest alone, paying off debt we are carrying. When I say hundreds of thousands, it is in the order of about $600 000 or $700 000 every day, paying off debt. The answer is, Oh, well, it will only cost $10m or $6m. I get frustrated at that approach. If there was another solution offered, such as the member for Nelson offered, and that solution came from badminton and they were able to demonstrate how it would be done, I am sure it would get a more benevolent hearing. Members interjecting. Mr ELFERINK: I have met with them! This is the point, and you sit there and say I will not meet with them. I have visited the site. I have looked at the site. I am getting extremely frustrated with a Labor opposition, which has, in government, taken us to the point where we have to start saying no to the solution, and they say it is our fault. It is frustrating to have to say no to the good people who play badminton and are interested in that sport. If we do not say no to them, and do not say no to somebody else, it will not be long before our debt goes to $6bn or $7bn. Where does it stop? Where is the threshold? They say we are the meanies because we have the audacity to say, Hang on, slow down. I ask the people in badminton to look at the Woolner option. There might be a way the extra $82 000 can be found. If you bring some other options to the table that will not cost millions of dollars because the unavoidable problem we have is we are stuck with a debt and we have to try to deal with it. That is the bottom line. Is it about money? Yes, it is because money is about people and that is utterly misunderstood on that side of the House. It costs money to run health systems, police officers, court systems, schools, to run all sorts of things. It just costs. Members complain about the cost of living. There is a cost of governance and it is about people, because without money you cannot do anything for people at all, whether it is in the area of sport, health, law and order, public safety or education. That is the reality. It is a cold, hard reality and it is unfortunate we have taken on that responsibility, a responsibility that was shirked and avoided by the members opposite because they did not want to face up to it. That is the challenge we have, so I ask badminton to start suggesting some ideas that will not cost millions of dollars. If you do that, there might be some further space. I know the minister and his department have made numerous efforts to try to bring out other solutions. I urge badminton to go think about those solutions. If the price tag is in the millions it will not happen.

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