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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1457..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

administration with islands offshore, to which there is simply no communication. There are no radios or telephone access between different towns and townships within the Dili district administration. Ms Kirsty Sword Gusmao advised me when she visited here just a month or so ago that in the very week of her departure a young mother had died in labour as a result of not being able to communicate from an island no more than a kilometre offshore with the district Dili administrator to ensure that she received the assistance that might have saved her life.

Similarly, as I mentioned before, there is, regrettably, a very, very high incidence of violence against women within Timor-Leste. This is something that is recognised and acknowledged by the Timor-Leste government. We, through a scoping study undertaken by the Chief Executive of the Canberra Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Ms Dennise Simpson, are looking at working in collaboration and partnership with community service organisations and the Dili district administration in Dili in the provision of training on issues around violence within domestic relationships, and I look forward to being able to progress that program some time in the very near future.

I commend Mr Gentleman for this motion and I most certainly acknowledge and commend Mr Gentleman for his very deep personal support for our friendship with Dili.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Budget—deficit

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. On the 666 breakfast program this morning, you said this in relation to the federal budget:

In a parochial and personal sense, this is a good budget.

The federal budget is expected to record a $14.7 billion surplus this year and a $10 billion surplus next year. It will deliver a tax cut for most Australians in all tax brackets, as well as cuts for business and, most importantly, superannuants. There is a very stark contrast in the budgetary position of the federal government and of the ACT government. Treasurer, in this economic boom time, why is your government the only government in Australia to run a deficit in the general government sector this financial year?

MR STANHOPE: We have budgeted for a deficit in this financial year. That certainly is the case; we budgeted for a deficit of $91 million. Indeed, at one stage, at the time that the government took the decision to fund a new year K-10 school in west Belconnen, the anticipated deficit grew from $91 million to something in excess of $100 million. But it was very pleasing then, in the midyear review, to see that the anticipated deficit for this financial year, the year of your question, had reduced from a high of somewhere around $110 million, after a budgeted position of $91 million, to $37 million. That is the history and a record of some of the volatility, of course, inherent in budgets and budgeting.


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