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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1458..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

That, of course, is the point of the decisions that the government proposes to take in the upcoming budget, the question and the response to it, and an understanding of the volatility of ACT budgeting—the fact that we budgeted for a deficit of $91 million. I cannot at this stage recall the particular aspects of the 2005-06 budget position that resulted in an anticipated or a budget deficit for 2005-06. Having said that, notably, in budgeting for a deficit of $91 million for 2005-06, we did budget for and anticipate surpluses in each of the outyears. The midyear review, of course, indicates that the anticipated $91 million deficit for 2005-06 by the time of the midyear review had reduced to $37 million and there was represented a seriously worse anticipated budgetary position, moving from $109 million, I believe, to $16.7 million, not $390 million to $16.7 million—not the $390 million that the Leader of the Opposition has imagined, in a quite—

Mr Smyth: The Canberra Times confirmed it.

MR STANHOPE: Mr Smyth, I just need to get this onto the record: Mr Smyth now alleges, in a most improper interjection, that the Canberra Times has confirmed—

Mr Smyth: Read the article.

MR STANHOPE: a $390 million budget outlook. I hope the Canberra Times journalists are listening and I hope they have regard to the Hansard for that interjection. This goes to the nub, really, of the distortion of the truth that is inherent in this claim by the Leader of the Opposition. He distorts it now by claiming in this place—it will be recorded in Hansard—that the Canberra Times has confirmed that there will be a budget position in the year 2007-08 of a deficit of $390 million.

Mr Smyth: No, no—potential for.

MR STANHOPE: The Leader of the Opposition just claims that the Canberra Times has confirmed, in a front-page story, that there will be a budget deficit in 2007-08 of $390 million. I will reflect on that statement of the Leader of the Opposition.

Going back to the question, I cannot recall why it was or what the factors were that led to the budgeting for a deficit of $91 million. But, as I said, it is pleasing, and it was particularly pleasing at the time, for the point of the midyear review to note that there was a significantly improved position. The hysteria generated from the opposition is, of course, "Woe is us, a deteriorating budget position, doom, gloom, crash, crash."We do need to pause and to consider, in the context of this hysterical rhetoric, how it is then that the deficit has reduced from $110 million—

Mr Mulcahy: You know that it's the investment market, the equities market. It's not your management.

MR STANHOPE: six or so months ago, back to a deficit of $37 million. It is our management that there is an anticipated deficit, but it is not our management that we are moving back towards surplus? How interesting!

MR SPEAKER: The minister's time has expired.


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