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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 21 September 1995) . . Page.. 1640 ..


But this budget is about more than the record level of borrowing. It is equally a fraud on the community because of the broken promises, the reduction in services to the community, and the attack on the public service. It is the inevitable outcome of the driest of all economic philosophies - that of Victoria's Jeff Kennett and the ACT Liberal Party. It is a philosophy that was well articulated by Mrs Carnell when she said, “I do not believe it is the role of government to provide services”. Its priorities are completely wrong. At this level of government, it is the role of government to provide services. The ACT Government is obliged to provide services to this community - health, education, police and justice, community services, environment and conservation, planning, housing, public transport, fire and emergency services and urban services. That list is far from exhaustive.

The Canberra community has been misled about the financial position of the ACT. There has been an attempt by the Chief Minister to convince the community that the ACT's financial position is disastrous and that drastic action is required. The proof of the matter is very different. It was detailed in a media release by the international credit rating agency Standard and Poor's on 30 March this year. The ACT's AAA long-term and A1+ short-term ratings - the highest that can be awarded - were confirmed. The statement went on:

The ratings reflect the ACT's low debt burden, stable local economy, and conservative budgetary performance.

I repeat that for Mrs Carnell's benefit:

The ratings reflect the ACT's low debt burden, stable local economy, and conservative budgetary performance.

It went on:

Despite the disruption to the ACT's financial profile from successive transfers of expenditure functions in the two years following self-government in 1989, the total Territory sector has continued to generate overall surpluses -

and that is the truth of the matter. It continued:

While the net borrowing requirement of 1.6 per cent of total revenues, forecast for 1994-95, will add to debt, this will be easily absorbed by the ACT.

I repeat:

... this will be easily absorbed by the ACT.


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