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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 8 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 2451..


DR FOSKEY: I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister assure the Assembly that the proposed residential development in that section will go ahead and that the QIC does not simply run it as a car park until the political climate changes?

MR CORBELL: I cannot speak for QIC, but I can indicate what the government's preference is. The government's clear preference, as I have stated earlier in Assembly committee hearings, is that that site was sold with a residential component and we would expect to see the residential component developed.

Budget—surplus

MR MULCAHY: My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the Canberra Times of 15 August reports that the ACT has recorded its largest ever surplus—some $176 million. This figure was calculated using the old accounting system and includes things such as Commonwealth grants and returns on superannuation investments. Treasurer, why do you persist in using, and why do you continue to allow, the reporting of the old misleading accounting system?

MR STANHOPE: As members know, last year's budget was prepared on the basis that it would be consistent with the Australian accounting standard. As members know, and as I announced in the recent budget, the last ACT budget to be compared was consistent with the Australian accounting standard. It is the standard that has been in operation, I think, since 1995, and it is the standard that was used for each of the budgets prepared by the previous Liberal government. The most significant difference between the budgets prepared by my government under the Australian accounting standard is that it produced five consecutive surpluses, whereas the Liberal Party produced four successive deficits, including an initial deficit of $344 million.

The big difference is that it is the same standard. In fact, Ms Carnell introduced it in the Assembly for the purpose of accounting after a period during which the then Labor government used a system of accounts that essentially was the GFS. In the context of this continuing campaign Mr Mulcahy is attempting to differentiate himself from his predecessors, and most particularly from his predecessors who were once ministers in that government; that is, Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak. Mr Mulcahy continually makes speeches, puts out press releases and asks questions that enable him to differentiate himself, as the new Liberal Party, from the old Liberal Party. Who was in the old Liberal Party in this place? The old Liberal Party included two members of the opposition with ministerial experience. Mr Smyth, who was the Leader of the Opposition, is now a humble backbencher. Why is he now sitting humbly behind Mr Mulcahy?

Mrs Dunne: Because he chose to.

MR STANHOPE: Because he chose to? He chose to because of the accumulated weight of the 1,000 daggers placed in him by Mr Mulcahy.

Mr Mulcahy: On a point of order: under standing order 118 (b) I would like the Chief Minister to be drawn back to the relevance of my question.

MR SPEAKER: Order!


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