Page 1938 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 27 June 2023

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sustainable response to increasing outpatients. CHS was already working on that alongside the Operation Reboot response. This very significant commitment that we have made in the budget to increase outpatients by 2,500 per year for the first two years and then 5,000 a year thereafter reflects that type of sustainable approach—exactly as the Auditor-General was talking about.

MS CASTLEY: I will go back to my initial question, and that was: how many initiatives in the 2023-24 budget are rolled over from funds due to underspend of this current budget?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: Probably the Treasurer was groaning in response to my first question, because the budget has not been delivered yet! Ms Castley is asking me of the detail of measures that have not, in fact, been yet announced in the budget. It would probably be expected that I would not be able to be in a position to answer those questions. I would encourage her to wait until 5 pm, when the budget is delivered, and read the budget papers for herself.

MR CAIN: Minister, why have you continually failed to meet your own budget promises, and why have you underspent on your initiatives?

MS STEPHEN-SMITH: I reject the premise of Mr Cain’s question.

Housing—debt to commonwealth

MR DAVIS: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Chief Minister, the ACT’s historic public housing debt to the federal government still sits at a whopping $90 million. Information provided by your office shows that repayments made this month for the 2022-23 financial year totalled $12 million, including $8 million in principal repayments and $4 million in interest, reducing the total debt to $82 million by 30 June this year. Last year this Assembly unanimously passed my motion calling on the federal government to waive the historic debt and for the ACT government to invest savings from debt forgiveness into public housing. Chief Minister, is the ACT government continuing to make representations to the federal government to waive the ACT’s historic public housing debt and what is the outcome of these representations?

MR BARR: I thank Mr Davis for the question and his interest in this matter. We do of course, as he has indicated in the preamble to the question, continue to pay the debt down. This issue was much more egregious when—

Mr Parton: When the other side was in!

MR BARR: when interest rates—

Mr Parton: When the other side was in!

MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Parton you have made your point.

MR BARR: when interest rates were lower. The current interest rate reflects largely the government’s current cost of borrowing so there is not a significant financial


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