Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1985)


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 - Wednesday 27 February 1985 manage its cash flow to advantage and to invest funds temporarily surplus to immediate needs. All governments have this power and the revenue from the investment of cash is substantial. In the financing of the casino purchase, the government has used part of its cash reserves to invest with the development corporation. This is an investment authorised by the Financial Administration and Audit Act. The funds were invested at rates of interest which were identical to alternative investments available to the Treasury. The actual interest rate charged was the 180-day bank bill rate which reflects the rate which could have been earned by Treasury had it not placed the funds with the development corporation. I can assure you that there is no loss of revenue to the Consolidated Fund. The second part of your letter deals with the $2.5m paid by the development corporation. The source of these funds was part of the Appropriation Act 1984-85. If the payment means that the corporation may require additional funds in 1984-85 to finance other commitments, then the matter will be reviewed in the normal budget process of the government and, if necessary, parliamentary approval will be sought for additional funds. Mr Speaker, the reason that I took the trouble to read both of those documents is as follows. The former member of the House of Representatives said quite specifically that the government was diverting money for wages and capital projects out of the budget and into the casino financing affairs. The point of all of that is that the government has at all times reserves available for investment. Those moneys are not for long-term investment; they must be accounted for before the end of the financial year. Those moneys were used. If they had not been lent to the NTDC, they would have been lent to some bank or institution that gave us the same rate of return that the NTDC ultimately gave us. That is an appropriate use of the Northern Territory budget reserves held by Treasury. That will always be the case. It is not peculiar to the Northern Territory government. I move on to another point which it is absolutely important for us to get straight. The government of the Northern Territory acquired the casinos. Under the acquisition act, the government of the Northern Territory was required to pay for them. The act required the government to pay for them and the government intended, as everybody knows, to resell the casinos to the trust. The government is acquiring from day to day, and has done so right through the course of its history. This government or any other government will be acquiring land or whatever. The fact is that the government uses government funds and generally seeks to be reimbursed for any acquisition in some form or another. Mr Speaker, I just made the point a moment ago that it is not uncommon for governments to do this. On the subject of government investments during elections, could I raise for the Leader of the Opposition's consideration the activities of the federal ALP government during the campaign period when it forked out $50m of the Australian taxpayers' money to buy a shipment of yellowcake which was committed to France? It was on the wharf ready to go. It did that for the political expediency of saving any embarrassment within its party about selling uranium to France. Mr B. Collins: Did it lie about it? 32

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