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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1033..

MR BARR: I thank Dr Foskey for my very first question. The answer is yes.

DR FOSKEY: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Could the minister then please advise the Assembly of the average cost of an empty desk to the ACT government, how that figure is arrived at and the estimated cost of relocating a student in order to dispose of such a desk?

Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, I wish to raise a point of order. That is not a supplementary question; it is an entirely new question. The question that Dr Foskey asked was around consultation and so on, not financial issues.

MR SPEAKER: The question was about consultation in relation to excess capacity. The supplementary question is in relation to costs. I do not think it qualifies as a supplementary question.

Budget—midyear review

MR STEFANIAK: My question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Chief Minister, when you announced the shared services proposal, you said that this would achieve savings of $10 million in the first year and as much as $18 million in subsequent years. In making these claims on ABC radio you also said that this initiative, by itself, would bring the budget back into surplus in the outyears.

Chief Minister, your government's own recent midyear review identified deficits for the next three years of $100 million, $57 million and $17 million, respectively. Further, according to advice you have received from Mr Costello, the estimated deficit for 2009-10 is around $190 million. Chief Minister, in view of the deficits that your government has estimated, how will you turn around a $190 million deficit and return the ACT budget to surplus?

MR STANHOPE: The comments I made on the ABC in relation to the Shared Services Centre have been quite grievously misconstrued. I put the position in two separate statements, and certainly in the second of those I referred to bringing the budget back into surplus in the outyears. That is what the transcript says; I have not heard the tape. But it was quite clear in the context of what I said that I was referring to the last of the outyears. Perhaps I should have said "outer year". The midyear review forecast deficit for the outer year, the last of the outyears, is, as the shadow attorney has just indicated in his question, $17 million.

My advice, the advice on which I have acted in relation to the Shared Services Centre, is that initially, because of a delay in start-up due to the very complex nature of the arrangements that will need to be put in place, the capital investment required in the first year for fit-out et cetera of a shared services facility will be in the order of $10 million, rising over the term of the outyears to about $18 million. We are continuing to refine those figures, and I am now advised that the savings will be in the order of $18 million to $20 million a year when fully established and operational.

What I said, and I was careful in what I said, was that my advice was that initially the Shared Services Centre would achieve savings in the order of $10 million, and I said

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