Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 3002 ..
I thank members for their contributions. I do listen and I do take on board sensible suggestions, and Mr Smyth knows that, because, from time to time, I have accepted things that he has put to me. But, overall, I do not accept the criticism of the Liberals. In time, they will understand that the decision we have taken in this budget and the one before to put the budget on a sustainable footing, to recover it in the short to medium term, to exercise restraint in our own expenditure, to improve modest increases, to try to keep our wages under control and to deliver more to the community was a good approach.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—Part 1.9—Home Loan Portfolio—nil.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.06): The home loan portfolio shows a number of loans that we currently have as being wound down. The portfolio seems to be managed carefully and responsibly. I also note the capacity of the management of the asset in the portfolio to generate revenue through investing in growth assets. That is a sound approach, particularly as rates and return are increasing on various asset classes after the global financial crisis.
There are no particular issues with this agency, but it is interesting that the Treasurer goes to the ACIL Tasman report, and it is interesting that she only seems to have penetrated one or two pages into the report. If she moves further into the report, in a number of areas the report actually identifies problems. A large number of these problems were reflected in the questioning in the estimates process and some of the recommendations in the dissenting report. For instance, at page 10 of the report, there is this statement:
We have identified a number of issues regarding the feasibility of this goal as stated in the Budget Papers.
They are the long-term fiscal projections. The bottom line is talking about the land release program, and we know how well the government has been able to bring in capital works on the land release project. It says:
Even a modest fall in this one revenue source would mean that there will still be an underlying deficit in 2015-16.
The report goes on to say:
If the Government is committed to expenditure restraint it seems curious that they see the need to fund $23 million in new initiatives in 2010-11 as well as a significant amount of new capital works which are unrelated to underlying population growth or the replacement of old assets …
Such expenses are essentially discretionary as they are aimed at increasing the overall level of service provided by the Government to the community.
Again, what we have got is a government that is good at spending but not a government that is good at budgeting. It goes on to say, for instance: