Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (30 November 1989)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (30 November 1989)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




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 - Thursday 30 November 1989 Mr Speaker, for the benefit of members opposite, I will reiterate our reservations about this project. We have reservations about the abil ity of this project to address the slump in the construction industry which is the economic justification that the government has given for it. Supposedly, the contract for the project is a fixed price and the determination of the fixed price is dependent on finalisation of subcontract packages. In answer to the opposition's questions during the November 1988 sittings, the government advised that we would know the fixed price by February or March this year. That w~s 8 months ago. When advice as to the fixed price was still not forthcoming in May 1989, the opposition again asked the government when this fixed price would be finalised. Once again, the government could not answer. Mr Speaker, it is incredible stuff. Today, a full year after we first asked, we still do not know the final, fixed price of the project. We have been told that the State Square project, comprising the Supreme Court building and the Parliament House, has an estimated price tag of somewhere in the vicinity of $100m. The project is financed by way of what the government has called 'a very interesting method of financing major projects'. Our semi-government loans program is being used for the project. A member interjecting. Mr EDE: You will have your turn in a minute and, while you are up, you can talk about why you did not do some creative financing to remedy the low level of access to housing by Territorians in the rural areas and their lack of access to schools,health services and water supplies. If the members opposite had undertaken some creative financing to correct such problems, we might have had a little more sympathy when they proposed to build this-palace for themselves. The creative financing arrangement involved ralslng funds through capital indexed bonds, the interest on which was initially just under 5%, payable quarterly, and increasing quarterly by the CPl. Even if it is a smart financing arrangement, it is an arrangement that encumbers us with debt and interest obligations. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the principle of borrowing money to finance projects, the opposition's fundamental question is whether the government's borrowings are spent in the best way and whether it is investing in productive assets which will create further wealth and development and long-term jobs which will result in increased assets. Mr Perron: Is a police station a productive asset? Is a hospital a productive asset? Is a museum productive? Mr EDE: Those are essential, social infrastructure. Mr Speaker, the State Square project clearly does not meet those criteria. For example, what is the resale value of a Parliament House? Of course, it has none. After taking interest payments into account, the project could well end up costing Northern Territory taxpayers close to $1000m. We may ,end up payi ng $1000m for a project whi ch will not create 1 new job and wi 11 have a resale value of zilch. It will result inno new wealth creation whatsoever. , The opposition is stinof the opinion that a series of smaller projects would have done much more for the Territory's construction industry and Territory business in general than the big one-off shot in the arm, the overdose . MrPALMER: A point of order, Mr Speaker! I draw your attention to standing order 67 on the subject of digression from subject. We are debating 8512

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