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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2683..


Gungahlin and the residents of Canberra and tell them that your GDE timetable is a fiction?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, the government has outlined its time line. We believe it is an appropriate and responsible time line.

Financial management report-June 2002

MR CORNWELL: My question is to the Treasurer. In the lead-up to last year's election, and subsequently, you constantly complained-you are very good at that-that we on this side were stripping the cupboard bare of cash, and that we were cutting cash levels to dangerously low levels. On 7 May, here, you said, "Cash which is available to spend . . . puts this territory . . . in steep decline."

On 20 August, you tabled a consolidated financial management report for the year to June 2002, and that report revealed that, over the year to 30 June 2002, the ACT recorded a net cash inflow from operations in capital of $253 million. This outcome is $54 million above the $199 million that was the original estimate of cash flow for the 12 months to 30 June 2002.

Now that it can be seen that we left your government flush with cash, can you tell the Assembly how these funds might be used for the benefit of the territory? You have the figures, don't you?

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mr Cornwell. Can I remind you, Mr Cornwell, of the budget brought down by the government of which you were a part, which showed a decline in cash reserves predicted over the forward estimates-and that was the point that I was trying to make-of something in excess of $100 million. It took the uncommitted cash holdings of the territory down to the bare minimum. That was the point that I was trying to make and I am sorry if I did not make it clear enough for you.

Some of the things that I did speak about with regard to what I have previously referred to as the Humphries legacy included the Totalcare quarry, which was losing money and which we had to sort out; CTEC losses brought forward; a jail on which you were going to spend $110 million that you did not allow for at all; a remand centre in a parlous state; the nurses dispute, the inevitable pay offers for which you had made no allowances; disability services in the state identified by the Gallop report; and a commitment to a medical school for which there was no funding in the budget.

The list is quite extensive and they are the problems you left. However, at the same time, if you read the budget and look beyond your nose, you will see that there is, in that budget, a steep decline. If that decline has changed now that probably means that the Treasurer at the time did not exactly know what he was doing.

MR CORNWELL: Treasurer, is there any merit in using some of the extra $54 million to either retire territory short-term debt or to undertake capital works-

Mrs Dunne: Such as a dragway.

MR CORNWELL: Including a dragway, yes, which would normally be deferred?


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