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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 7 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1918..

Statement by minister

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (10.45): I have presented to the Assembly the March quarter 2013 consolidated financial report for the territory. This report is required under Section 26 of the Financial Management Act 1996. The March quarter headline net operating balance for the general government sector was a deficit of $263 million. This result was $26.2 million lower compared to the year-to-date budgeted deficit of $289.3 million. Total revenue for the general government sector for the quarter to 31 March 2013 was $2,901.2 million. This is $20.5 million lower than the March year-to-date budget of $2,921.7 million.

Major variations in total revenue include lower taxation revenue of $36.4 million, mainly due to lower than expected conveyance revenue which reflects the continued softening in the housing market, largely as a result of the threat of an Abbott government, and lower than expected lease variation charge collections due to the timing of payments and underlying market conditions. For example, the latest ACTPLA data show that year on year to March 2013, total residential property turnover in the ACT decreased by 4.1 per cent while the total weighted average price decreased by 2.6 per cent.

Madam Speaker, global economic uncertainty, commonwealth government fiscal consolidation and uncertainty in the lead-up to the federal election all continue to contribute to caution on the part of potential homebuyers and investors, which is undoubtedly weighing on property market activity. The commercial sector has also seen softening in activity in an environment of high vacancy rates, the prospect of significant public sector job cuts under an Abbott government and economic uncertainty.

Dividend and income tax equivalents revenue was also lower by $18.3 million due to the timing of payments and accruals received by public trading entities. These decreases were partially offset by increases of $17.1 million in contributed assets due to the higher than anticipated assets transferred from developers—major transfers include roads, stormwater, street lighting and footpaths—$5.8 million in commonwealth grants due to the timing of payments; and $5.3 million in interest income due to higher than expected investment earnings on balances held under investment.

Total expenses for the quarter to 31 March 2013 were $3,263.3 million which was $45.9 million lower than the March year-to-date budget. Major variations in total expenses include lower supplies and services by $36.3 million mainly due to the timing of payments for contractors and consultants associated with budget initiatives; lower grants expense by $10.2 million associated with the timing of commonwealth grants, which are anticipated to be rolled into the 2013-14 fiscal year; and lower depreciation and amortisation by $9.1 million due to the timing of the capitalisation of assets under the territory's infrastructure program.

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