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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 12 Hansard (13 November) . . Page.. 3521..


Treatment of superannuation

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. I refer to a comparison of the budgetary positions of the eastern seaboard states published in Crikey magazine. Crikey reported:

The budgeted $500 million surplus in 2002-03 is predicated on the assumption of a 7 per cent return on investment markets. But the A-G has revealed that Victoria's investment returns dropped $461 million in the September quarter and unfunded superannuation liabilities rose $384 million.

With the smoking ban wiping out another $100 million of budgeted revenues this year, Victoria is definitely in deficit as we speak. There are no smoke and mirrors in the Queensland budget. As state treasurer Terry Mackenroth revealed, the 2001-02 budget deficit blew out to $900 million.

The article continues:

No marks to Egan and Carr for reckless tax and spend policies covered up by ... off balance sheet devices and the blatant disregard for superannuation liabilities.

Treasurer, your preference for off-budget treatment of superannuation investments is also well known. Given that the value of the ACT government's superannuation portfolio declined by 3.6 per cent during the September quarter, can we draw a connection between the deterioration in the investment performance and your desire to expunge such unwelcome information from the operating statements?

MR QUINLAN: No.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Treasurer. I have a supplementary. Are you trying to take the effect of changes to the superannuation policy off budget, against the strong objections of the Auditor-General, due to a wish to be able to cover up this government's tax and spending policies, as Michael Egan does in New South Wales?

MR QUINLAN: Mr Smyth, if you had done your homework, you would know that I had been saying for several years that the superannuation investments ought to be in something like a trust and pooled separately from the operations of the ACT. Therefore, the question that you have asked is based on an entirely false premise and cannot be answered.

Commission of audit

MR CORNWELL: My question is also to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the commission of audit was established by your government and had three terms of reference. The commission reported on the first of these in March 2002. During July, the Estimates Committee was told that the report on the second term of reference was "some weeks off"; the third task for the commission at that time had yet to begin. The Estimates Committee was further advised that the second and third reports would be completed by this financial year.


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