Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (11 November 1986)



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





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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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 11 November 1986 Mr Ede: It is such an exciting speech. Mr COULTER: Mr Speaker, it appears that they do not care. The simple fact is that once a debt ratio of between $12 OOOm and $15 OOOm is reached, all that maybe able to be done is pay the interest on that debt forever. This is the situation that the world's greatest Treasurer has put Australia into. The members opposite belong to the very same political party. How dare they talk of deficits in the Northern Territory when their own Labor Party colleague has placed Australia in a precarious position that we may never get out of? Mr Ede: What percentage of it is government debt? It is not government debt, you nit. Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable Treasurer will resume his seat. The member for Stuart wi 11 withdraw hi s most unparl i amentary remark. Mr Ede: Mr Speaker, I withdraw my remark unreservedly. Mr COULTER: As I said, the Territory's debt has risen over the years because we had none to start off with. This is a tight budget and it has been framed under difficult circumstances and conditions. The member for Stuart took pains to tell us about the difference between taxes and charges, although I am still not sure if he knows the difference between the 2. He ridiculed the statement in the budget that there would be no new taxes, and there were no new taxes. In fact, most of the charges were introduced before the budget was brought down. Not too many of them are involved in the budget itself. The truth is that the principle that the budget was established on, the promotion of private enterprise and the maintenance of our capital works program, has stood the test of time, and I believe that we will finish the year 1986-87 in very good economic circumstances. This is because of the commitment of departmental heads, and I congratulate the departmental heads who have had to enforce the budget. The budget ii not about standing in this Legislative Assembly for 47 minutes and making a speech from a large sheaf of notes; it is about implementing an economic strategy. I congratulate the departmental heads and senior executive officers and, indeed, all executive officers throughout the public service who have made a real attempt to implement this budget. I believe that the various sectors of industry have appreciated that the Northern Territory government is prepared to make hard decisions and that we refuse to enter into deficit budgeting. The member for Stuart had some problems understanding deficit budgeting also. It simply means that we do not spend more dollars in each particular year than we have been able to raise in that year. If that is in loan funds, so what, Mr Speaker? The opposition's colleagues in the states have borrowed in the vicinity of $120m and $140m each year. For the first time, the Northern Territory wi 11 borrol'l some $22m in semi -government funds. There seems to be some problem with that. The member for Stuart seems to think that we have deficit budgeting because we have loans at the moment. Let me give him an example. In Victoria, there is legislation that prevents the government from deficit budgeting yet we beli'eve that the Labor government in Victoria is in debt to the tune of something like $300m. The Victorian government has lost about $170m on the Portland smelter. 874