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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 2 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 406..


MS TUCKER: I have a supplementary question. Meanwhile, what arrangements have been put in place for people who should be at Hennessy House? This question is important because one person was in the Belconnen Remand Centre. What arrangements have you in place now?

MR STANHOPE: It is a significant issue, Ms Tucker. We are all aware that a person who had been designated for residence in the secure unit was resident at Belconnen Remand Centre for almost a year. That was plainly an undesirable circumstance. In the course of his residence there I sought and received assurances from the department that his clinical circumstances and treatment were not being compromised in any way as a result of the fact that he was resident at Belconnen Remand Centre.

I accept and acknowledge the undesirability of the arrangement, but he was on remand for a fairly serious offence. It would have been in everybody's interests were he housed in a secure unit. We will accept that. As a result of the effluxion of time and as a result of his treatment and the improvement in his clinical condition-I do not want to say too much about this-it has been suggested that it is no longer necessary that he be housed in the Hennessy House secure unit. There has been progress but, as I admit, just a result of the effluxion of time, not as a result of our capacity in respect of housing him in a secure unit. We are very hopeful that the secure unit in Hennessy House will be open very shortly.

Economy

MS MacDONALD: My question is directed to the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. Treasurer, Standard and Poor's announced this morning confirmation of the ACT government's AAA credit rating. What was the reason given for Standard and Poor's' confidence in the Labor government administration?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Ms MacDonald; a good question. It is good news. The Standard and Poor's press release stated:

"Standard & Poor's expects that the new Stanhope Labor government will adopt a prudent set of fiscal goals and that its first budget will be fiscally conservative. Any further deterioration in the territory's finances is, therefore, unlikely,"

Standard and Poor's also gave credit to the fiscal restraint shown by Labor during the ACT election. Labor released a full set of costings, as opposed to the Liberals, who declined to show the same transparency.

MS MacDONALD: My supplementary is: following on from that press release, how does Standard and Poor's regard the outlook for the ACT? What is the basis for the agency's opinion?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you again, Ms MacDonald, for that question and thank you, members on the other side of the house, for the interjections, because I want to go a bit further and quote from Standard and Poor's:

"ACT's net financial liabilities are projected to increase, based largely on the previous government's pre-election budget projections," ...


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