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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 2 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 453..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

reacting in a positive and strategic fashion. I would say that has probably been the hallmark of the improvement in the way tourism has operated. Even though our numbers have not skyrocketed over recent times, they have certainly held or improved when other areas are not improving and are, in fact, negative.

It is interesting that some of the figures for the December quarter last year, nationally, are still not out. I cannot understand why the federal minister has not published some of the figures, which she has had for some weeks. The suspicion, of course, is that, even though we are in positive territory, the indicators are that the figure for Australia in recent times has not been good. To achieve these results when the national figures have not been strong is fantastic.

Capital works funding

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. I ask whether he recognises these words:

I am, however, committed to ensuring that the value of our capital works program does not continue to increase. This is important as we do not have cash capacity in future years' budgets to continue to fund large capital works programs.

That is what you told the big spending Minister for Urban Services in November 2002. Are you still committed-as you were then-to ensuring that the cost of capital works does not continue to increase because the government does not have the cash capacity to continue to fund large capital works programs? If so, what are you doing about it?

MR QUINLAN: I think you will see that this government has, as it should, taken due note of its cash position through all of its planning. Despite the fact that we have some predicted deficits, the cash position is strong. Over the last four years the government has not borrowed and has no plans at this particular stage to borrow. I have said in other forums that it would be a sensible thing to borrow if you were investing-if you were spending money on something that would either obviate expense or generate revenue. But in terms of a capital program to maintain infrastructure, it seems to me to be sensible to make sure that you pay due regard to your cash capacity. Certainly that has been the case over the period of the Stanhope government and I am sure that it will continue to do so.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Can the Treasurer advise why he has failed to stop his profligate colleagues from significantly increasing expenditure on their pet capital projects?

MR QUINLAN: I am not really sure that we have at this point in time funded "pet capital projects", whatever that means. There has been a limited amount of funding set aside for the arboretum, and I am sure that future budgets will be cognisant of the cash capacity when setting the priorities within the capital budget, as we have before.

Mrs Dunne: When you do fund it, will you take down the sign?

MR QUINLAN: I am sorry-I missed that. Was it money; was it humorous?

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