Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 10 Hansard (13 August) . . Page.. 2883..
CIE noted that this is not a predictable source of funding as it is exposed to reductions in the GST as a result of national consumption expenditure. The report goes on to say that state final demand is expected to increase by a mere 2.5 per cent in 2013-14. It was 2.75 per cent in 2012-13. State final demand has never been lower than 1.2 per cent over the last 20 years.
Of course, the net operating surplus in 2015-16 is only possible when factoring in investment returns from superannuation investments. CIE noted that the target rate of 7.5 per cent is ambitious, noting that a capital stable index over 10 years to April 2013 returned 5.88 per cent and a more conservative index returned 4.4 per cent. The government has no explanation on how they set the 7.5 per cent rate.
General rates increase by around 16 per cent to $46.4 million in 2013-14 and conveyance duties decrease by approximately four per cent—by $9.2 million. So how is that revenue neutral? Even when you take into consideration conveyance duty with general insurance and life insurance, collection from rates still outstrip these. The point is that the government's "tax reform relies on sustained increase in general rates". That was stated by the Centre for International Economics on page 20.
We know now from the estimates that the Treasurer has done modelling. He simply refuses to share it. The budget implies a slightly lower wage and employment growth in the non-government sector in 2013-14, but the budget notes a payroll tax increase of 6.8 per cent in 2013-14 and 7.3 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16.
The government anticipates a 33 per cent increase in dividend and tax-equivalents income largely from increased dividends to the LDA income, which increases by $75.5 million in 2015-16. That is a 60 per cent improvement to the bottom line between 2014-15 and 2015-16. But as the CIE also noted, the government provides no assumptions for their forecast. On savings, CIE noted on page 41:
There is no guidance on where savings are expected on an agency-by-agency basis, or any information provided regarding the specific savings categories ... It is not possible to properly assess the expected savings measures because of the lack of detail provided.
It is no surprise then that the CPSU said that the budget papers were "vague on detail". They also used the words "weasel words"and called on the government to explain how it plans to meet its efficiency target over the next four years.
We second the sentiment that this budget is vague on detail. However, as members of the Assembly, we have the fiduciary responsibility to stop this budget from going forward until we know exactly what is the true extent of the government's policies and initiatives in this budget. Failing to do so would be tantamount to sharing this government's negligence in failing to be open and transparent.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (3.59): I will make a few comments. This is an important area of the budget, being the central