TIO sold


Sir – The Territory Insurance Office (TIO) will have new ownership but will remain a stand-alone brand in a deal worth $424 million.
Under the new arrangements, Allianz will take ownership of TIO insurance, while the banking services will transition to People’s Choice Credit Union.
The Government had the option of selling the insurance, banking and Motor Accidents Compensation arms of the business with an estimated total value of $609 million. However the Government has decided that selling the MAC scheme is not in the interests of Territorians and it will remain in Government ownership.
The new arrangements for insurance will see the iconic TIO brand retained and flood, storm surge and cyclone cover continue to be offered.
TIO will continue in its current form but now has the backing of the largest insurer in the world.
All along, the government has said that any new owner must look after the respected TIO brand, maintain the services Territorians rely on, and look after TIO’s staff.
Allianz have committed to all this, ensuring that TIO has a long future in the Territory and that Territorians continue to have access to the insurance cover they need.
Under this new model nothing changes for customers. The TIO name remains, branches stay open, policies stay the same, flood and storm surge cover continues and staff keep their jobs.
I want to assure Territorians that this is not a decision we have taken lightly but the Government believes it is the best outcome for taxpayers because it reduces their exposure to risk and frees up $424 million in funds for the development of Northern Australia.
The funds raised through this change of ownership now enable us to invest in the infrastructure we need to unlock the full potential of the Northern Territory, creating jobs and opportunity for our children. They also allow us to do important community flood mitigation work.
$215 million in proceeds will go into a long term Infrastructure Development Fund.
The remainder will be available for more immediate community infrastructure projects including $50 million for flood mitigation work in Rapid Creek, Katherine and Darwin’s Rural Area.
$25 million would be set aside for works in Rapid Creek and the Darwin Rural Area, while another $25 million would be allocated to Katherine.
The $25 million for Katherine includes $7.6 million to move Katherine’s Ambulance Centre out of the flood zone.
Adam Giles
Chief Minister 


  1. Well done Adam Giles, another disaster chalked up. Next: when’s Tollner reinstated, Friday apparently? Hopefully he kicks your butt out of there. After the damage you have done to the CLP in 2014, one cannot even begin to think of what 2015 holds!

  2. OK, so that’s that.
    As I read the announcement, TIO will be sold for $424 million. Earmarked already is $215 million going into the Infrastructure Development Fund, $50 million going to flood mitigation in Rapid Creek, Katherine and Darwin’s Rural Area and another $50 million for “works” in the same three areas.
    Can we in the Centre expect the remaining $109 million to be spent on a flood mitigation dam in Alice Springs?
    Or not?

  3. Before we start building a dam which we know will cause a lot of upset to many in our community perhaps we should consider doing something to help the water get through town easier.
    The causeways are all effectively dams. They have blocked the natural flow, and hold back the sand and sediment, leaving us with a river shallower than it once was.
    Build bridges or lower the causeways and a load of sand will be able to be washed through town.
    This will lead to a deeper riverbed with the capacity to carry greater flows of water before flooding.

  4. I think the only way the current Alice CLP members will retain seats is with a big carrot – in the form of a lifestyle improving dam. Alice will at last be able to offer water for those who struggle to live so far away from it.
    A dam would not only help mitigate flood it will also help Alice to grow and prosper. If this Government doesn’t have the guts then no one ever will. This is our one chance.

  5. $7.6 million to move the Katherine Ambulance Centre.
    Why is the government / taxpayer paying this kind of $ to move a NGO?

  6. We’ve been through this three times before, Observer (Posted November 25, 2014 at 8:45 am). Apart from the environmental and cultural heritage destruction, and the myriad of problems you get with stagnant water, there are also those great lifestyle adjuncts, debilitating schistosomiasis of the liver and Ross River fever, associated with arid zone dams, as Dr Harry Butler used to remind us.

  7. @1 Bob: Seems to be OK in Tennant Creek (or Lake Mead in Arizona / Nevada – though that’s thinking a bit big!)
    I am unsure of any culture implications other than those played by people who feel they can profit from it.
    Whilst it would of course have an environmental impact – is it necessarily going to be of high impact? We seem happy to dig big holes for iron ore – why not something for flood mitigation and leisure?

  8. Oh dear, don’t tell me Adam is going to be the latest CLP blow in to dive into the damn dam debate again.
    I thought he was reserving all the water for his fracking mates.

  9. Surely you remember, Observer (Posted November 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm), that in 1979, 1983, 1986 and 1989-91 CLP governments made efforts to foist dams first on the Werlatye-Therre area just north of the Telegraph Station, and then on the Wigley’s Waterhole area.
    Both of them would have obliterated cultural sites of ancient standing and high significance to traditional owners, and both were strongly rejected by the great majority of TOs.
    The downstream impacts of these proposals were also strongly rejected by most people who had concern for the wellbeing of the town’s riverbed ecology.

  10. Alice Springs has a preventable disaster pending.
    We can build a flood mitigation levy north of the town with proceeds from TIO and a compensation to traditional owners factored in. What government will commit to this will get my vote and I hope many other in Alice Springs.
    Let’s bring back the talk of the levy before the new Melanka floods, not after! As well as the hospital, police station, court house and of course the fire station as well.

  11. As I recall, Peter Driscoll (Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:47 am) the studies done in the early nineties indicated that a “levy” (i.e. an artificial embankment) would not be effective at protecting the town from major floods.
    If we are serious about protecting Alice Springs from the effects of predictable serious flooding, such as we have a had a couple of times in recent decades, or the much higher level floods identified as having occurred here prior to the 1870s, then we are looking at a very big project, and necessarily high costs.
    Historic evidence of the possible quantity of torrential rain in a short period, in the catchments north of Alice Springs, indicate the need for one or more high, strong dam walls able to hold back an enormous volume of water, and with sluice gate capacity to release water at a safe volume during the event.
    To have maximum mitigation impact, the area behind the dam wall(s) would need to be empty of water prior to the flood events, thus ruling out the concept of a “recreation lake”.

  12. I encourage readers to google “flood mitigation” and related issues on this site.
    The Alice Springs News Online has published tens of thousands of words on the subject, over many years.
    Bob Durnan’s recollection (Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:24 am) seems right. According to studies we reported about, levee banks would be of little use – and ugly.
    He appears to be in error about one point, however: A recreation lake could be emptied just ahead of flood events, or likely flood events, which these days can be predicted with great accuracy.
    In most cases the flow of water could be kept within the banks of the Todd.
    Until such a (rare) event occurs, a lake could be there for the enjoyment by the public.
    It could be brought back, by judicious use of sluice gates, as the rainstorm passes, which is usually within a few hours.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor.

  13. Thanks Erwin Chlanda (Posted November 26, 2014 at 11:54 am), I was not aware that this difficult process could be navigated in this manner.

  14. Thank you Mr Chief Minister, you have managed to sell TIO … but at what cost to the CLP?
    Do you really think that long term NT residents will vote for a ‘Dictator’ in 2016? Your action of NOT asking the policy holders of TIO and the people of the NT if they agree with ‘your burning desire’ to sell TIO will make it impossible for me to vote for the “CLP dictators” EVER …
    Ingolf in Alice Springs.

  15. Let’s suppose for a moment that a mitigation dam had been built prior to the last big flow. I don’t remember exactly when the Todd last ran a banker, although I do remember the event. Ten years ago?
    Anyway, since that flood we have had a few minor flows but nothing like a banker. So, what would the water in the dam look like today if it had been kept to serve as a recreation lake and not allowed to all flow away once the rain clouds passed?
    My initial thinking is the water would be fairly stagnant by now and not of much use for recreation.
    I also wonder if permission would be granted by the TO’s for a permanent body of water. It might be easier to argue the case for a dam to reduce the chances of a major flood overflowing into town and then allowing the country to go back to how it was than for the permanent changes that a lake would bring. The permanent changes required for a dam wall big enough and capable of having the necessary sluice gates might be changes enough.
    Does anyone remember what was agreed to in the early 90s?

  16. The apmerelke artweye and kwetungurle for Mparntwe don’t want compensation, they want to protect their heritage.
    Something I believe we should all honor and celebrate.
    I think what was agreed upon 20 years ago was that people would stop humbugging Mparntwe people to allow them to destroy their sacred sites by the river north of town for 20 odd years.
    Try again later when some people have probably passed away and others are feeling so oppressed that they have lost the strength to continue to fight for their country and heritage.
    Now some people have passed away but there are still people remaining ready to stand for their country. And these people have a lot of support.

  17. @ Dan
    Posted November 27, 2014 at 7:15 am
    I wonder if what you say is accurate.
    Twenty years ago the then ALP Federal Government decreed that there would be no dam built for twenty years. I don’t remember much agreement or discussion associated with that decree.
    [From one local news source:] “Custodians of the site originally gave permission for the Government to build the dam at Junction Waterhole as long as it didn’t hold water and thereby permanently inundate sacred sites.”
    Whether or not that permission still holds is one question.
    Whether or not the TO’s and the NT and/or Federal governments are interesting in revisiting this issue is another.
    I suspect that in the short term nothing much will get get resolved between those wishing to protect their land north of Junction Waterhole and those wishing to protect their land south of it.
    Without a resolution, no dam will get built.
    Eventually another flood will come along to break the Todd’s banks and flood Alice Springs. When that happens, then we may decide to refocus our minds on ways to avoid unnecessary flooding and how best to keep all our feet dry and protect all our lands.

  18. Hal Duell (Posted November 27, 2014 at 11:02 am): as you correctly mention, it was Junction waterhole, not Wigley’s, which was the site of the second flood mitigation dam proposal.
    Here is the link to the pdf containing the main environmental impact statement about the flood mitigation dam proposals.
    The Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out by the NTEPA in 1989/90, and published in October 1990.
    See: http://www.ntepa.nt.gov.au/environmental-assessments/assessment/register/alice_springs_flood_mitigation_dam
    There were more detailed documents later prepared by other parties examining some aspects of the environmental issues and the social-cultural matters subsequent to this report. There was much public debate and private lobbying during this period.
    Minister Robert Tickner announced his decision to use his powers under the ATSI Heritage Protection Act 1984 to prevent any dam proceeding that would affect the registered sacred sites at Werlatye-Therre and Junction Waterhole on 17th May 1992.
    There is also a very useful article by Hal Wooten QC about the sacred sites protection issues, available here: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/20635739?uid=3737536&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21105309313163

  19. Statements about the effects of the causeways and the low level crossing being significant factors in flooding ignore the bleeding obvious: much of the inner part of town is built on a flood plain, marked out by the soils and natural vegetation.
    Alice has an erratic rainfall and we know there have been some huge floods in the past, much bigger than the 1:100 yr flood. But you can’t base your flood control planning on a 1:1000 year flood, cheaper to shift the town.
    It would make sense to have another look at the Junction Waterhole site again, a lot of the planning and initial head works already done, just sitting there since Robert Tickner, the Federal minister, cancelled the funding. But do it right this time, build a proper flood mitigation dam, not a multi purpose dam to give some flood mitigation and a recreation lake.
    One would inundate the sacred sites for just a few days, the other permanently. That was the deal-breaker last time. When the TOs realised they had been mislead it was just ‘Broken Promise’ Drive all over again. Game over.

  20. Are we not getting off the subject? We are being sold out by our short sighted government. Giles is raping TIO one of our biggest assets giving the territory its independence and a level of control and power to Allianz who is gaining a world monopoly on insurance. Large corporations have huge power and control. At least with insurance companies there is less illusion that they are here for the people. This government seems to have no interest in upholding the illusion that they are here for us. Making life hard for the average person and doing sweet deals for big corporations. Many large businesses legally pay less tax than the average person.
    Giles is talking about infrastructure investment but a big part of that is supporting his gas industry buddies. Rape one of our assets to help invest in raping our resources via a dangerous process called Fracking. Giles is selling us out. In 20 -30 years time we will be looking at having to deal with toxic waste lands polluted water ways for which our lively hood depends on. In California there is confirmation of billions of gallons of fracking water that has been injected into the aquifers. People are confirmed sick from living near to gas fields. Wake up teritorians our future is under great threat and our government is not looking to protect us. They are just after short term bucks!


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