Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 5 May 2010) . . Page.. 1761 ..
MR SPEAKER: Order! Ms Porter has the floor.
MS PORTER: Treasurer, in relation to this, what is the economic forecast for the ACT over the forward estimates?
MS GALLAGHER: In relation to the GST pool, we have, as I said, included for the first time increases based on what we understand the national pool take will be and our share of that. But you can see also that that does not offset the full loss of the Commonwealth Grants Commission outcomes. That grows over the forward estimates to in the order of $101 million by that final year. You can see that flow through in the reductions to GST revenue over that time. But, yes, I do not think that it has been any secret that the $85 million loss has been partially offset with additional GST revenue. I think I have acknowledged that publicly a number of times.
Mr Smyth: You have hidden behind the $85 million loss, though. You have consistently—
MS GALLAGHER: It is still a loss, but it has been partially offset. You can see that our deficit situation has improved, and we have acknowledged that it has improved, because of additional revenue that is coming through the budget. Because of that, we have made the decision to return the budget to surplus two years earlier, acknowledging that our budget will continue to grow over the next four years and that we expect revenue to grow and that we can pull it back.
Mr Smyth: That is slightly different from what you have been saying.
MS GALLAGHER: I do not understand what the opposition’s line on this is. They are saying that we are not spending enough, that the deficits are too big—
Mr Smyth: You just don’t understand.
MS GALLAGHER: I do not get it. It does not add together as a budget plan. We cannot not spend enough, have smaller deficits, not be indexed at all and completely ignore some of the revenue write-downs that we have had to experience. You would have us believe that there has been no impact on our budget from the GFC or the Commonwealth Grants Commission, and that is not true. You can see that that is not the case.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, do you have a supplementary?
MR DOSZPOT: Yes, I do, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, why did you mislead the community by not including the gains from growth in the GST pool?
MS GALLAGHER: I have not misled the community. These are expected gains and we have got them in the budget. I do not know what the issue is here. In February we were informed that we had lost $85 million in GST revenue through the Commonwealth Grants Commission. That is the result of the change in relativities. I think what the opposition are struggling with here is that there are two 50s. I have got