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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 12..

higher superannuation asset base, contributing to higher estimated long term returns on superannuation assets. These upward movements have, however, been offset by increased forecast expenditure on wages for ACT Policing as a result of expected enterprise bargaining outcomes.

It is also clear that, with this recent improvement in our current net operating balance, the government is delivering on its fiscal commitment of restoring the net operating balance back into surplus. As outlined in the review, on current projections it is anticipated that the budget will be in surplus by 2008 09. It is significant to note that the ACT maintains a very strong balance sheet and retains a AAA credit rating, with negative net debt, which means our assets are more than liabilities, and moderate levels of net financial liabilities.

Mr Speaker, the level of economic activity in the ACT remains strong. The volume of non-dwelling construction is the greatest since the construction of the new Parliament House and unemployment is at a record low. The persistent strong demand for labour appears to be resulting in a marked improvement in the rate of labour force participation in the ACT. The combination of a high level of economic activity, a significant increase in the labour force participation rate and a record low unemployment rate has accommodated a strong employment growth in recent months. As a result, the forecast economic and population growths in 2006-07 have been revised upwards since the budget.

Mr Speaker, the recently released report on government services produced by the Productivity Commission showed that government services in the ACT continued to be among the best in the country, although it is important to note that the report predates the ACT government�s recent budget reforms and initiatives which aim to bring the costs associated with many government services back into line with those of other jurisdictions without compromising service standards and/or performance.

To that end, we still have a significant road to travel. The ACT inherently has high expenditure levels, with the national standardised level of expenditure generally beyond our revenue-raising efforts. The government is committed to reducing the gap while ensuring that we continue to achieve good outcomes in key areas. Mr Speaker, I commend the mid-year review to the Assembly.


Mr Stanhope presented the following paper:

Financial Management Act, pursuant to section 26—Consolidated financial report for the financial quarter and year-to-date ending 31 December 2006.

Financial Management Act—instruments
Papers and statement by minister

MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Minister for the Arts): For the information of members, I present the following papers:

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