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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 10 February 2010) . . Page.. 170 ..

away on holiday—I cannot believe it would have got through your office. The Leader of the Opposition, the man who would be Chief Minister of this city, asks me, the Treasurer, “Just how much money do we get from the commonwealth in payroll tax?” The answer there is a big fat zero. We would love to get some, actually. Maybe that is one of your ideas that you have got for resurrecting the budget. You are going to levy the commonwealth’s payroll tax. That helps. I cannot believe that the shadow Treasurer has just asked me, has just basically said that there has been no impact from the GFC on our budget.

I think the comments made by CommSec perhaps had more to do with the fact that we do not have a large banking and finance sector in the ACT, as Mr Smyth might have realised. We do not have a large manufacturing system in the ACT. The issues that have affected WA and Queensland perhaps have not affected us as much. But let no-one be under any misapprehension that the GFC resulted in our forward estimates losing $1.1 billion. Our economy has held up very well. It has held up very well because the commonwealth government embarked on a very vigorous stimulus program and, for the ACT government, did not slash and burn their budget but took a much more measured approach, against the best advice of the shadow Treasurer.

We had our own stimulus program, the local initiatives package. Our economy has done very well. We maintained our employment levels, as an employer in the territory. We have supported industry through this crisis. We have been thanked by industry for this. Now the results are there for all to see, and Mr Smyth has been denied the ability to put out a media release that bags the economy, just like he likes to do in every area of his portfolio—the man that only gets out of bed when there is bad news to be had for the people of Canberra.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?

Mr Stanhope: Ask a supplementary, mate.

MR SMYTH: I will, Chief Minister. Mr Speaker, it appears she can read certain paragraphs from CommSec but not others. Treasurer, why do you not accept responsibility for your budget deficits that are of your making and are not the result of the US financial crisis?

MS GALLAGHER: I do not think anyone could say that I do not accept responsibility for them. This government is the one that is working very hard to recover our budget. As much as you like to say that it was my fault that the GFC happened, I think that the cool, rational heads of the majority of the community of the ACT understand that there were a few factors outside of my own personal control that led to the collapse of the world’s banking system, the financial markets and the American home lending system—that perhaps those were not to do with Katy Gallagher from Canberra. Mr Smyth, if you want to live in that dream world we are happy to let you sit there with that thought—if it keeps you happy, Mr Smyth. I think the people of Canberra understand that those factors were outside this government’s control. They also understand that we are taking responsibility for fixing them—fixing our budget but making sure that we maintain services to this community.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary question?

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