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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 20 May 1993) . . Page.. 1693 ..

Mr Stevenson touched on the absurdity of that. He talked about expenditure at the rate of one-twelfth each month. If you did that based on your Supply Bill you would end up spending more than you were going to be budgeted for, because the Supply Bill is, in theory, five months' worth of expenditure at last year's rate, plus any exceptional and one-time payments that are going to have to be made in that five months period. Hence the figure for this year is $643m. One could say on the basis of that, "Well, we can expend at the rate of $107m a month". But when the budget comes down it may not necessarily be $1.3 billion, which is what it ought to be, approximately, if this is only a five-month projection of it. Our budget last year was nowhere near like that and I am sure that the Government is going to tell us that they are going to make further reductions in their budget this year, so it may be less than $1.2 billion. If you spend at $107m a month right up until November and then you get your budget, you will say, "Golly, we have gone off the rails somewhere because now we have only about $85m a month for the rest of the year. What are we going to do with all these commitments we have entered into?". So you cannot assume some steady rate of expenditure month by month.

There are all sorts of problems about budgeting. I think I could explain a few of these things to the Treasurer. I hope that she is listening carefully. This five-year budgeting cycle or five-year plan that I talked about has to do, too, with the fact that you cannot make major changes in the direction of your budget from one year to the next. There is a certain inertia in the system that prevents you from making massive change from one year to the next. Anybody who thinks that from between now and three years' time we could make massive reductions in our budget and change the direction massively does not understand the way the system works and the fact that there is an in-built inertia there that prevents you from doing so. Madam Speaker, I could talk for a long time on this, but I just repeat that I was a bit disappointed in the narrowness of the matter that Mr Stevenson brought up.

MADAM SPEAKER: The discussion is concluded.


MR BERRY (Minister for Health, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Sport): Madam Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement in relation to the motion to take note of my ministerial statement on the sports forum.

Leave granted.

MR BERRY: I said in relation to volunteers - I think that matter was raised during the course of that debate - that I had put out a press release. In fact the press release that I was referring to was about another subject; but how better to advertise the issue of the volunteers than to have Mrs Kelly do it? She did a great job. When I was talking about the Health Promotion Fund I noticed eyes rolling opposite and I thought I had better check the figures before there was some sort of an outburst. If you look at Budget Paper No. 3, the health promotion estimate for 1992-93 shows a figure of $1.232m and for 1991-92 $1.336m. On the face of it, it looks like there has been a slight decrease. That is not the case. In the 1991-92 figures there was a $0.55m carryover from the previous year to the $900,000 appropriation. The 1992-93 figures also included a carryover of $114,000, an $18,000 growth factor and a $200,000 one-off inclusion for budget purposes.

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