Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 1852..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
The government wants to make that announcement early next year so that it gives the Canberra community a sense of certainty about what is happening in relation to these sites. I cannot give the member a firm date on that. Once the consultant has all the information from the community it has to be put together, analysed, synthesised and put into a recommendatory document. I cannot give the member a firm date on that but I can say that it will not be in time for any election.
DR FOSKEY: I wonder whether I could seek clarification.
MR SPEAKER: Order! No. Dr Foskey asked a question and a supplementary question and that is the end of the matter.
MRS BURKE: My question is to the Treasurer. You received $200 million from the community more than you budgeted for during the 2006-07 financial year. Despite this, you have ruled out relieving the tax burden on Canberrans in your media release of 15 August.
Phil Lewis, a professor of economics at the University of Canberra, told the Canberra Times—which comments you now say he refutes—that you had an obligation to explain how you have used this windfall revenue. He said, "It's not his money; it's the taxpayers' money."Treasurer, why aren't you prepared to review the level of taxation on Canberrans given that the tax increases in last year's budget were not justified?
MR STANHOPE: I thank the member for the question. I certainly thank Professor Lewis for his insight and his advice that surplus cash accumulated through good governance and good budgeting and management should be used for capital purposes. As I have indicated before, this insight into budgeting that capital funds should be expended on capital projects will revolutionise government and budgeting around Australia.
Professor Lewis went on, I understand, to suggest that the government needed to announce how it would actually spend this capital fund. I understand that on his wish list was that we should spend it on a new dam at the Cotter, which is interesting because this rests with Actew. If a new dam is to be built at the Cotter, the dam will be built and paid for by—
Mr Mulcahy: That is not what she asked you, though, is it?
MR STANHOPE: I am just going to Professor Lewis's grasp of governance within the territory. We have the very fine advice that, yes, capital funds should be spent on capital projects. He then suggested or proposed that leading the list of capital projects in which an ACT government should invest would be the Cotter dam. That did puzzle me to the extent that it indicates that Professor Lewis obviously does not understand that our utility is statutorily independent and that, to the extent that a new dam will be built within the territory, it will be built by Actew and funded by Actew. The suggestion from Professor Lewis that an ACT government might budget fund a new