Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 19 November 2015

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Parliamentary Record 24


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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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 19 November 2015 7419 Andrew Robb has been doing a lot of hard work on the Korean, Japanese and China free trade agreements. The Trans-Pacific Partnership has over 20 nations coming together to break down tariffs and open up business opportunities so mango growers in the Northern Territory can sell mangoes into America. People do not put enough emphasis on what these large agreements do. Yes, the Japanese FTA means you will be able to buy cheaper cars in Australia, which is good, but we export some products. Humpty Doo Barramundi will now be able to export barramundi into more markets than ever before, which means more jobs at Humpty Doo Barramundi. The Seafarms Group is looking at 100 000 tonnes of tiger prawns being grown and exported each year in its $1.45bn tiger prawn project. They will travel along the Victoria Highway up the Stuart Highway to the port, which will expand with more reefer and refrigeration points, onto bigger ships and head out into the wild yonder of the world market. This is what it is about. The FTA allows that to happen. They are some of the things that are at risk if a Labor government came to office, because we know that in 2012 when we took office the Territory was nearly bankrupt. That is not a political line; that is a fact. There was $5.5bn worth of debt. The Territorys budget each year was $5.5bn when we came to office. Our debt was as much as our income. The debt to equity ratio was forecast to get to 98%. The Treasurer released the Treasurers Annual Financial Report yesterday, showing an equity-todebt ratio of 32%. What a tremendous turnaround. The $5.5bn has come down by $2.9bn. Those numbers are very hard to understand in anyones language so let me put it down per capita: $2900m divided by 250 000 people in the Northern Territory there are about 245 000 but we will go on 250 000 equals $11 600 per person of debt savings, which is every man, woman and child, and probably every tourist. That is an amazing achievement and turnaround in three years. People talk about trust. Let me tell you about trust. Would anybody trust Labor to manage our economy? Could you trust Labor not to get into that debt position? Could you trust Labor not to bring about that deficit? Who brought petrol prices down? It was the Country Liberals. Petrol prices are now the lowest in the country. Labor drove them up when in office, we drove them down. Labor drove house prices up and we drove them down. Next week we will be announcing how we are driving down electricity prices. Would you trust Labor to reduce petrol prices or keep them low? No way. Would you trust Labor to keep house prices down? Absolutely not. Has Labor ever reduced electricity prices in any term of government? In eleven-and-a-half years electricity prices never went down. Why would you risk going to Labor? You cannot trust them. We know how they performed last time. You cannot take the risk ... Mr CHANDLER: A point of order, Madam Speaker! Pursuant to Standing Order 77 I ask for an extension of time for the member. Motion agreed to. Mr GILES: Thank you very much, Minister for Infrastructure, for the 10-minute extension. I say again that you could not trust Labor. If it was your money you would not give it to Labor to manage, so why would you expect government to give money to Labor? They messed it up last time. All the improvements I spoke about across the length and breadth of the Northern Territory that we have been making and they are just a slither have been done in three years. Imagine what could be done in the next four-year term. Electricity prices will be the lowest in the nation over the next four-year term. Access to VET and higher education will be the best in the country. We will continue to be the best-performing government in Australia financially. We will continue to erode debt and reduce surpluses. We will continue with job growth. These are things Labor cannot promise. It has already committed to not having an onshore gas industry. That is an industry it will not support. The member for Nightcliff is talking about buying the port back, putting the government into debt, which would be at least $600m or $700m. We will put $100m of the port money towards a ship lift facility. We will leverage it up as a major project. A ship lift probably costs around $400m or $500m. We will put $100m in and attract the private sector, as we did with the gas pipeline. That will produce up to 4500 jobs. Labor has said no to 4500 jobs, plus $600m or $700m debt, because it will buy the port back. That is economic suicide; nobody would do that. I go back to the point of October Business Month. In its 21 st year, it had the highest number of participants and was widely successful, and celebrated across the Northern Territory. I thank the staff in the Department of Business who worked tirelessly to ensure OBM was seamless and successful, and everybody had a great time. They did not just look after Territorians and business; they also looked after the guests who came in. It was a stressful time with a very busy agenda, so thanks to the Department of Business.