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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 3004 ..

and by continuing the years of reckless spending, the government is leaving us in deficit far longer than we should.

You have to remember that, before the last election, the Chief Minister asked what did the business community want. They wanted leadership and confidence and they wanted surpluses. And we have had nothing of that since. That is the problem with this budget. It leaves us in deficit, with the Treasurer’s fingers crossed in the hope that she will be able to achieve it.

If you want an indication of the inability of this Treasurer to achieve, you only have to look at the fact that almost $19 million of the Treasurer’s advance was spent last week to prop up departments that cannot live within their budgets. They could not do it in 2009-10. They are being asked to do it in 2010-11, with an efficiency dividend and a quasi tightening of the belt. But you only have to look at last week when yet again we had the end-of-financial-year splurge, more reckless spending, instead of making sure that the departments live within their means. As this report says, if you have a modest fall in just this one revenue source, there will still be underlying deficits to 2015-16 and, because of the way that this government has used such blunt instruments and such a poor plan, they will eventually end up cancelling or cutting specific programs to achieve future savings targets. And that is the reality.

I am sure the Treasurer will come back in and agree with me that ACIL Tasman got it right or perhaps it will be like it always is when we have got the selective quoting. Again we saw it from the Chief Minister last night. The Treasurer sat at the feet of the master for selective quoting. She has learnt his bad habits. But if you want to delve through this report, Treasurer, I am happy to delve through it all night, because it says a whole lot more about your budget. And if we are going to use ACIL Tasman as the reference guide, let us use it properly.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (10.14): The home loan portfolio consists of two staff and currently manages approximately 175 loans, which, by the end of the financial year, is anticipated to have reduced to 135 loans. As well as the ongoing management of the loans, the scheme also manages a number of investments that back up the liabilities and manage the deferred assistance scheme.

During the estimates hearings, evidence was given that 27 loans are in arrears and that 22 are receiving deferred assistance. This is a significant reduction from last year. It appears to be a positive sign for the operation of the portfolio, especially in light of the economic period we have just gone through. I made the point during my speech last year that it is essential that there is a scheme in place for those who are unable to make payments and would ultimately face foreclosure and that crisis accommodation be available for families who unfortunately might find themselves in that position.

It should also be noted that the costs of the scheme remain fairly constant, even though there are fewer loans as a result of the relatively fixed administration cost, which means that the per loan cost will be significantly higher this year. However, there is an overall reduction in this year’s appropriation for this item. And that is all that the ACT Greens wish to say on the home loan portfolio.

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