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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2335..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

reflect the cost of services and they ensure our capacity to maintain essential municipal services for people in the ACT, still lead to a result where, on the average value land in the ACT, rates are $146 lower than the rates on equivalent value land in Queanbeyan.

So there is the great furphy. Rates in the ACT, when compared value for value against Queanbeyan, are $146 less; rates are lower in the ACT than they are in Queanbeyan. (Time expired.)

Budget—community submissions

DR FOSKEY: My question is to the Treasurer. It concerns community submissions on the budget. I am told that community organisations were informed that submissions on the ACT budget are due by 28 September this year, as distinct from November in previous years and that they are being forced to organise swiftly to gather input for their submissions within the six-week period they have to do so. Could the Treasurer please advise why the decision to bring forward the submission date was made, and when and how that was conveyed to the groups concerned?

MR STANHOPE: The decisions in relation to this year's budget, the range of decisions that the government is required to take in actually setting a framework and a program and a timetable for budget consideration and delivery were taken in the context of our own planning requirements, which will see us begin budget considerations for next year in October of this year with a view to delivering a budget earlier than the June date that was chosen for this particular year and have led us to bring forward by a month all of our timing and our entire timetable. It is really as simple as that.

The government is working to a different timetable this year for the delivery of next year's budget than for this year's budget. It is really quite simple, Dr Foskey. The government has adjusted its timetable, its own work schedule and timetable, with a view to producing a budget in the traditional time, which traditionally has been May. In order to meet that timetable, we have brought forward by a month all of the milestones that we will pursue in relation to a budget. It is as simple as that.

I must say that I did believe that a six-week time frame for the delivery by community organisations or the community generally or peak organisations or representative organisations provided ample time for consultation and the preparation of those submissions. If it is causing some difficulty for some organisations, I do regret that. But it is a long and very involved and complex process, the process of developing a budget, and it is as simple as that. We have adjusted our timetable. We have brought it forward and it does, of course, impact on all the milestones in relation to the preparation and delivery of a budget.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Dr Foskey?

DR FOSKEY: Could the minister please describe the process for ensuring that issues raised by community organisations will be considered in the budget?

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