Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 1855..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
We will continue to invest in all of these areas. We will undo the damage that was done in seven years of the Liberal Party. We will continue to invest. I think that in relation to disability services we have increased expenditure by almost 70 per cent—I believe it is in the sixties—as a result of having inherited the Gallop royal commission report into disability service delivery under the Liberal Party in the ACT. Who can forget the Gallop report? Who can forget the scarifying report into the performance of the Liberal Party in government in relation to the delivery of disability services and the response by this government to that report, which led to a massive increase in funding for disability services within the territory?
Mrs Burke, in answer to your question as to what we will do, that is what we will do: we will continue to invest massively in this community to undo the damage which you did in government, having delivered to us aggregate budget deficits under the Australian accounting standard of over $600 million.
MR GENTLEMAN: My question is for the Treasurer. Treasurer, can you explain some of the major factors in revenue growth for the ACT over the 2006-07 year?
MR STANHOPE: The major reason for revenue growth within the last financial year has undoubtedly been the property market—both commercial and residential. The growth in property in the residential and commercial sectors within the ACT is the strongest in Australia. It has defied the predictions of even the private sector—the private sector which would pride itself on its capacity to predict the future. The Liberal Party and the private sector now take as a major failure of this government the fact that it did not predict $40 million of increased revenue as a result of conveyancing activity over the last quarter.
The predictions that were part and parcel of the budget were consistent with the predictions that the private sector was making at the time. Earlier this year, in the 2007 real estate outlook for Australia—this year's outlook—the Real Estate Institute of Australia was still predicting—at the beginning of this year—a continuing slowing in demand for property despite positive population growth in all States and territories during 2006. According to the Real Estate Institute of Australia, this slowing in demand for property that started this year would limit price growth in 2007. That was the prediction of the Real Estate Institute of Australia earlier this year.
In June 2007, the property council was forecasting an increasing shortfall in investment in residential housing. In the March quarter, up to June, investment in residential housing within the ACT increased by 63 per cent over the previous quarter. Yet, on the back of that, the property council was still predicting an increasing shortfall in investment.
Let me go to a press release from the property council dated 10 August 2005—two years ago. I just happened to come across it in my office. Two years ago, two years ago within a week of the budget announcements of last week, the property council—Catherine Carter and Tony Hedley—predicted that by 2008 vacancy levels in Civic would equal those of 1996—15 per cent. Two years ago this month the property