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Monday, 14 March 2005
Page: 138

Senator Mark Bishop asked the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services, upon notice, on 17 December 2004:

(1)   With reference to page 84 of the Department’s Annual Report 2003-04 and the claim that the Alice Springs to Darwin rail link ‘will return as much as $1.88 for every dollar spent on it’: Has that estimate been revised in the light of operating experience; if so, what was the result; if not, are there plans to do so.

(2)   What was the total cost of Commonwealth contributions by way of grants and loans for the project’s construction and operation.

(3) (a)   What assessment has been made of the financial performance of the railway in the first 6 months of operation, compared with projections; and (b) will the Minister provide a copy of that assessment; if not, why not.

Senator Ian Campbell (Minister for the Environment and Heritage) —The Minister for Transport and Regional Services has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   The figure was extracted from a 1999 analysis undertaken by Booz-Allen and Hamilton. We are not aware that this estimate has been revised, nor do we have any plans to do so.

(2)   The Australian Government is contributing up to $191.4 million to the project. The Australian Government has provided $178.9 million to date and committed another $12.5 million in stand-by financial support. The commitment is that the $12.5 million will be provided, if required, in two equal instalments in 2005-06 and 2006-07.

(3) (a)   The NT Government is advised on a regular basis of the performance of the railway. The information is commercial-in-confidence. (b) The Department does not have a copy of that information.