Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1717..
Mr Humphries: So what was the colossal financial mismanagement?
MR QUINLAN: The colossal financial mismanagement obviously occurred when you looked at the situation for the current financial year, and said, "We must spend all the money. We will take no notice of the longer term." I probably indicated in one of the statements you referred to that I felt that, over a period of time, a $1 surplus is okay, but you quite clearly set out on a cynical scorched earth financial policy, intending to actually burn the excess cash, or to commit it. It is quite clear, on a reading of your budgets, that this is the election ploy you adopted. I call that financial mismanagement.
MR HUMPHRIES: Do you consider it acceptable for an ACT government to have an operating loss if the economy is growing strongly?
MR QUINLAN: You would have to have the right conditions. I would consider it acceptable if the economy is growing strongly and it is not overcommitted in some areas, and if you are not coming off a very high expenditure year with revenues falling away. We might be enjoying economic growth, but I do not think anybody is prepared to bet bottles of wine on the fact that, for example, our stamp duties from real estate conveyancing fees will not decline next year.
We have received a huge windfall this current year-you may want to base your reputation on estimating that we will maintain this year's level of, say, stamp duty receipts through next year-but there will be a decline in revenue. We can still be enjoying economic growth in various areas, but the impact on the revenue lines of the ACT government itself may not be as direct as it is with the very heated housing market, for example. It is quite conceivable that you could have a deficit and still be managing responsibly, because you are coming from a peak year.
Gungahlin Drive extension
MS GALLAGHER: My question is to the Minister for Planning. Can the minister inform the Assembly of the government's view on the Australian Institute of Sport's statement, reported in today's Canberra Times, that it "will go west"?
MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Gallagher for her question. Isn't it interesting, Mr Speaker, that those opposite greet this with some mirth when what we are talking about here is whether or not the people of Gungahlin are going to have this road on the alignment that they voted for at the last election? They voted for that alignment, and the Canberra community voted for it, at the last election.
Mr Humphries: We are laughing at you, Simon.
MR CORBELL: Just check the booth returns. The revelations yesterday by the chairman of the Australian Sports Commission made it clear to the government that the AIS and the Australian Sports Commission have made up their minds, before any detailed analysis has been concluded, that the western alignment for Gungahlin Drive is unacceptable. They have clearly already made up their minds, and are seeking to stop this government from implementing its election commitment. Today, Mr Michael Scott-