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Thursday, 25 November 2010
Page: 2322

Senator JOYCE (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (9:47 PM) —Seeing that we are back to where we started, we might as well ask a few pertinent questions. You talk now about your upfront capital cost, which I think is $35.7 billion—even though your own Prime Minister nominated it as $37.5 billion. But that is all right; she is allowed to make a mistake of a couple of billion dollars.

Senator Conroy interjecting—

Senator Hanson-Young —You were a fantastic shadow finance minister, weren’t you?

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —Senator Conroy and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, I would appreciate you ceasing your interjecting, particularly when you are not in your places.

Senator JOYCE —They are as pure as the driven snow, those who are sitting behind us here! You have now got this mischievous way of describing the costs, where you are now talking about the upfront capital costs as opposed to where you were in the past when it was more of an all-encompassing cost. I would suggest that that is one of the main reasons that you have gone from your $43 billion down to $35.7 billion. Do you include in that $35.7 billion the cost of finance? If you do not—because it is an upfront capital cost—do you feel that is an appropriate way to cost it? If you have not included the cost of finance, are you not drastically short in the real cost of this project? Likewise, you are saying that there is a better return on your cost of capital and because you removed your leases from the project. Would it not have been more appropriate to also put the leases in there as a better reflection of your total costs for the project? Are you not way below what would be an honest interpretation of the costs as initially displayed in the way that you calculated your costs in the $43 billion figure?