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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1458..

MR STANHOPE (continuing):

The crucial thing is that the resources are there, when they are needed.

Commonwealth-State Financial Relations

Mr Speaker, in recent years Commonwealth-State financial relations have been conducted in an atmosphere of rivalry and something akin to paternalism. They have been characterised by blame shifting, rather than shared accountability to the community, cost transfers rather than joint responsibility, and competition rather than cooperation.

Serious attempts are being made to modify these relations and see them mature—particularly in relation to financial transfers from the Commonwealth to the States and Territories.

The reform agenda set by the Council of Australian Governments is genuinely significant. It will simplify and reduce the current list of more than 90 Specific Purpose Payments (SPPs) to 5 broad-banded SPPs, with new performance measures. This work will be completed by December 2008.

There will be some necessary changes to our budget paper presentation in the coming years, as a consequence. But the more visible change, to the community, will be greater transparency, simplicity and accountability.


Mr Speaker, one measure of a good government is how it chooses to leverage the benefits flowing from a period of strong economic growth.

What investments does it make? Are they investments that directly boost the capacity of the economy to strengthen even further?

Are they investments in the future?

Are they prudent, affordable and strategic?

Is there a track record of delivery?

The 2008-09 ACT Budget I present today is a Budget that will ensure that our community and our city are ready for the future.

There's a billion-dollar investment in the infrastructure that supports our economy and our communal life—a more than 10% boost in our physical infrastructure over the next half-decade.

There are targeted tax concessions of $61 million and an investment of $404 million in the services the people of Canberra themselves say are priorities.

Crucially, it is a balanced Budget—in every sense of the word. It balances revenues and expenses. It balances current needs and future demands.

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