Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 408..
MS GALLAGHER (continuing):
Sometimes it is around processes and sometimes it is around communication. We can always improve both of those areas. If this family has been let down and has not been attended to with the proper process that they deserve, then I apologise and I undertake to have a look at what led to that.
A full clinical review was undertaken at the time. It was not about resources or lack of resources at all. It has never been. In the ACT, while the health system is funded the way it currently is, it never will be.
MR MULCAHY: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the 2007-08 budget midyear review reveals that the territory's budget position has improved to a GFS net operating balance of $116.1 million, excluding expected long-term gains on superannuation investments. Contributing to this improvement is taxation revenue, including rates and other government charges that you introduced or increased in the 2006-07 budget. In light of the sizeable surplus now expected, what advice has the government received in relation to the scope available for tax relief?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Mr Mulcahy for the question. Before responding to the specific question, let me make the point that the major drivers of the improvement in the net operating balance revealed in the midyear review were increased GST revenue due to the Australian government's larger than expected GST revenue pool, an increase in the ACT population, and forecast conveyance duty. Income tax, revenue payments and dividend returns from the LDA have been revised upwards.
There have been continuing strong conveyancing returns as a result of the ongoing strength of the ACT residential and commercial property markets. And there has been a significant upward revision of interest revenue as a result of higher investment balances driven by strong territory revenues and, indeed, as a result, quirkily, of the increasing interest rate rises—the legacy of Howard and Costello and their parting gift to the people of Australia: rampaging inflation. They were the range of reasons for the increase in the anticipated surplus in this financial year.
In the question there was a request for specific advice that the government has received about our capacity to reduce revenue. In the context of initial discussions and briefings with the Under Treasurer and Treasury officials in relation to this year's budget, I have discussed a full range of issues going to our capacity for additional expenditure—both recurrent and capital—issues around revenue, and the way in which our taxes and charges and revenue regime is tracking.
In the context of putting together this year's budget—as I have indicated on numerous occasions over the last few years and most recently in the last few weeks, at the time of the tabling of the midyear review—the government will give consideration—as it has for every budget it has put together over the last six years—to the appropriateness of the full range of our revenue measures. And we will do it again. I have had discussions with and received a briefing from Treasury on issues around expenditure, risks and revenue.