Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)
Debates for 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 4th Assembly 1983 - 1987
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)
Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Tuesday 11 November 1986 throughout Australia. However, for the Territory, it had galloped well ahead to $507 for every Territorian. In the space of 6 short years, the Territory's financial managers have taken us from a position of paying $40 less than the average in interest payments per capita to a position of paying $144 above the average. What this means is that, in 1984-85, the average person throughout Australia was repaying government debts and loans at the rate of $363 a year. The average Territorian is paying $507 per man, woman and child in the Northern Territory. In terms of indebtedness, our position has declined remarkably compared with the rest of Australia. Indeed, if we look at this year's budget papers, we will see that Territorians will be repaying $536 per head of population. Members opposite can rise and apologise for their policies and extravagance. They can do what they like but these are Bureau of Statistics figures. Their so-called balanced budgets have reduced us to repaying far more for debt than any other Australians. That is the result of these so-called balanced budgets. The same rapid escalation in our debt position is shown in relation to borrowings. In 1979-80, net government borrowings per Territorian were $268. However, by 1984-85, this had rocketed to $534. That is borrowings incurred in the 1 year for every man, woman and child in the Territory. By comparison, the average borrowings per person in all states was $257. We were borrowing more in the Territory! The government talks about the federal government's deficit. We were borrowing twice as much per head of population in the Northern Territory as any other state government. No wonder the government has been able to balance the books. Any mug can balance the books as long as he keeps on taking out loans. You just keep taking out another loan to pay off the loans you already have. The members opposite are a collection of dummies who would not know how to run a book out at the racecourse. What a collection of dummies! Mr SPEAKER: Order! I think that the member for Nhulunbuy is coming close to using unparliamentary language and I ask him to withdraw that remark. Mr LEO: I withdraw it, Mr Speaker. The government has simply borrowed more and more money to pay for its debts. That is the balanced account that we have in the Northern Territory. So much for the balanced budgets which the member for Fannie Bay has claimed we have. Let him get up and deny it. Balanced budgets! Mr Perron: I have spoken. Can I have another go? Mr LEO: You can have another go. I will give you all the time you like. By 1984-85, the interest payments of $71.7m, and they are included in here, were only just exceeded by the new borrowings of $75.3m. That is a simple equation. We have locked ourselves into a debt situation and we have to keep borrowing all the time just to cover it. It amounts to $536 per man, woman and child in the Northern Territory. That is the balanced budget that the government touts every year in this Assembly. There are some questions that I want the Treasurer to answer in his reply. I would ask him whether he accepts the validity of the Bureau of Statistics figures or whether he disputes them. Can he provide this Assembly with a consolidated statement showing the level of gov~rnment indebtedness for the last 3 years, including all government agencies and instrumentalities, and can 846
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