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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 1847..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

I am asked whether I can stand by the predictions within the 2007-08 budget. The ACT government traditionally has a very good forecasting record. In particular, we have a very low mean percentage error in terms of government forecasts at budget time. Indeed, I can go through the mean percentage error for each Australian jurisdiction over the last five years. The mean percentage error in budget forecasts in each of the five years as between the budgeted position and the delivered position are as follows: for New South Wales, the figure over the last five years was 3.9 per cent; for Victoria it was 4.8 per cent; for Queensland it was 8.8 per cent; for Western Australia it was 5.9 per cent; for South Australia it was nine per cent; for Tasmania it was 6.3 per cent; and for the ACT it was 2.4 per cent.

With respect to the budgeted position, as against the delivered position, and averaged out over five years, of all the states and territories, the ACT government has the lowest mean percentage error in budget forecasting of any jurisdiction in Australia. It varies from year to year. Some years we are higher; some years we are lower. The mean average over five years paints the ACT and the ACT Treasury as the Treasury and jurisdiction with the lowest mean percentage error in budget outcome of any jurisdiction in Australia.

It is on that basis that I can continue to have faith in the operations of the Treasury and in the budget that is brought down. That is after taking into account long-term averages, the conservative nature and bias of the way in which the budget is put together and our record—a record in Australia that is second to none. It is on that basis that I have such confidence, while accepting of course that we have not been able to predict the enormous spike in construction activity, particularly in the residential market, between the first three quarters and the last quarter. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Mr Mulcahy, do you have a supplementary question?

MR MULCAHY: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, how can the people of Canberra be assured that the economic and taxation decisions are being made wisely and prudently when you are so inaccurate in your revenue forecasts?

MR STANHOPE: I did just answer that question. I am happy to repeat that the record of the Australian Treasury and of this government over the last five years is the best in Australia. You cannot get better than this.

We have the best record in Australia, through our Treasury and through the last five successive budgets, of actually bringing a budget in, as delivered. The mean percentage error in the ACT is 2.4 per cent against an all states averaged mean percentage error of 5.9 per cent, with some states averaging nine per cent. South Australia is averaging nine per cent, Queensland is averaging 8.8 per cent and the ACT is averaging 2.4 per cent, with a mean error rate across the states of 5.9 per cent. We have the best record in Australia.

Mr Mulcahy: The best record for tax.

MR STANHOPE: The interjection was that we have the best record for tax. Of course, this is the other furphy that runs with this particular debate. We tax at average


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