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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 2 May 2006) . . Page.. 1034 ..

rising to $18 million. My advice now, as the proposal continues to firm, is that the savings that might be anticipated will be in the order of between $18 million and $20 million a year; $18 million is more than $17 million. The anticipated deficit in the outer year, the last of the years in cycle, is, as I think Mr Stefaniak just advised, $17.4 million. Between $18 million and $20 million is more than $17 million.

The point I was making, in the context of the position that the territory faces, is that the anticipated midyear—

Mr Stefaniak: It is illogical.

MR STANHOPE: It is not. The anticipated midyear review forecast deficit for 2009-10 is $17 million. In the year 2009-10, through the initiative of the creation of a Shared Services Centre, it is anticipated that savings of up to $20 million will be achieved. I was making the point—and it is a well-made point—that it gives some clarity and understanding of exactly what the government’s budgetary position is. Of course the government will be making other decisions. We have not yet finalised our cabinet budget considerations.

I was making the point in relation to that particular position—that is, the outer year—that through a single reform initiative, if one were to look at that single proposed deficit in that outer year in the context of the decisions that would progressively need to be made to deal with a forecast position or deficit or an extent of deficit, the proposed or anticipated deficit in the earlier years would be significantly more than in later years as the budget came back progressively to surplus. It provides a perspective or a basis for consideration of the nature of the tasks that the government faces. Having said that—and I have been very open about it—the opportunity needs to be taken, and we are looking to take a range of decisions around structural issues that have essentially never been faced up to by any government since the advent of self-government

Mr Smyth: Gary Humphries tried and you stopped him. Why did you stop him?

MR STANHOPE: Mr Smyth interjects that Gary Humphries tried and did not succeed. That will be the epitaph of Gary Humphries’s entire political career: he tried but failed. He is a trier. There is no doubt about that.

MR STEFANIAK: I ask a supplementary question. I am not sure if the Chief Minister understands. I will try again. Chief Minister, why did you state that savings of $10 million to $18 million, let us say even $20 million, would bring the budget into surplus when the savings required are 10 times that amount? Did you skip a zero in your brief or did you just fail to read it?

MR STANHOPE: I do not understand the maths of that question. I thought I did explain it. Mr Stefaniak, from what I have been hearing about the numbers you now have to take over the leadership, you really will need to do better than this. One expects a little more of the next Leader of the Opposition than a suggestion that the deficit in 2009-10 will be $170 million. It is actually $17 million, Mr Stefaniak. The anticipated midyear review forecast a deficit for 2009-10 of $17 million, not $170 million!

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