Territory Stories

Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 6 May 2014



Debates Day 1 - Tuesday 6 May 2014

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Parliamentary Record 12


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 Tuesday 6 May 2014 4054 sell off the profitable parts of Power and Water without coming back to this Assembly for approval. It is scandalous. We have consulted widely on the privatisation clause in this bill, the infamous proposed section 53, and I have heard the advice of an eminent senior counsel about it. In all of his years dealing with corporate law he had never seen anything like proposed section 53. It is bad legislation, and if it passes, it will be bad law. Allowing the Treasurer of the day to sell parts of the Power and Water Corporation by regulation rather than legislation sets a dangerous precedent. What will be next TIO? During Question Time this morning the Chief Minister would not rule out selling TIO or the port. Treasurer, you should get rid of proposed section 53 today. This is a sad day for the Territory. The CLP has proven, once again, it cannot be trusted. It cannot be trusted after it promised to lower the cost of living in the lead-up to the last election, and it cannot be trusted now. As sure as night follows day, parts of Power and Water will be sold if this legislation goes through. What will this mean for Territorians? The obvious one is rising power costs. The new member for Blain had his not for sale and no deal posters everywhere, and he would have heard, when doorknocking and meeting residents during the Blain campaign, that Power and Waters costs are hurting families. The cost of living has gone through the roof, Territorians are hurting, the people of Blain will be hurting, and they will hurt more if power prices go up. That is what we expect if this passes and the privatisation of parts of Power and Water go through, meaning higher prices for Territory families. People are already leaving the Territory due to the high cost of living the CLP promised to cut. We have the highest inflation in the country at 3.6%, compared to the national average of 2.8%. The CLP went into the election in 2012 promising to lower the cost of living, and it is not doing that. The cost of living is going through the roof. If you privatise Power and Water and sell assets, power prices will go up, further hurting families. Families will have to decide whether they stay here or leave. What else will happen? Infrastructure investment will fall, more blackouts will occur, and the new owners of profitable parts of Power and Water will profit at the expense of Territorians. The Power and Water Corporation is too valuable an institution to Territorians to be ripped apart and disposed of to CLP mates. I strongly urge the Assembly to vote this legislation down. Ms WALKER (Nhulunbuy): Madam Speaker, I also make it clear that the opposition does not support these bills and the split of Power and Water. We do not support changes to the Government Owned Corporations Act or the split up of publicly-owned assets, a thinly-veiled plan to sell off the assets of the Power and Water Corporation. As we know, amendments to the Government Owned Corporations Act will allow this to occur. I acknowledge the efforts of the member for Wanguri, as shadow minister for utilities, for her efforts throughout this saga since the CLP made its plans known. The member for Wanguri has challenged the CLP every step of the way, pursuing the matter through this parliament and the committee process. She has articulated the issues, exposed the smoke and mirrors of the CLP and stood up for Territorians who have not been consulted, not been told the truth and not been told what the cost of the split will be to them as taxpayers. They certainly have not been told what the benefits will be. I also acknowledge the considerable efforts of the Opposition Leader in driving this debate, holding the CLP to account and exposing it for being less than honest with Territorians. She has exposed the CLPs singular commitment to split and sell the Power and Water Corporation as nothing more than a cash grab, no doubt to meet all of its unfunded election promises in the bush. Perhaps they have now given up on the bush. They seem to have lost interest in the bush, and the Chief Ministers response to questions this morning from the Opposition Leader he would not even rule out selling another government owned corporation, TIO. The agenda of this government is quite clear to everybody, and the CLP is taking Territorians for fools in telling us that splitting up and selling the Power and Water Corporation is a good thing. We are expected to suck it up, accept it and adopt a, take it, we know what is best for you because we are the government attitude. As a bush member I am particularly concerned about the implications of the split for my constituents. Those of us in the bush already have much reason to mistrust the CLP government because it has broken so many promises and back-flipped on so many commitments that any trust which might have been there has well and truly eroded. Like the rest of the Territory, people were told their jobs were safe, and far from reducing the cost of living, the CLP has driven it through the roof, much of it on the back of increasing Power and Water tariffs. As the Opposition Leader said, average families are paying more than $2000 extra per year for electricity under the CLP. Further increases are inevitable when the government pursues its ideological agenda to split and sell Power and Water Corporation assets. These price hikes

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