Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 05 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2011) . . Page.. 1785 ..
MR STANHOPE: The budget yesterday provided additional funding for additional ACTION services and routes in suburbs. Routes that were defined for funding in yesterday’s budget include routes into Casey.
MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. On 5 May 2009 you claimed that the ACT’s budget deficits in coming years were caused by “a range of external factors beyond our control”, most notably the global financial crisis. In the 2008-09 budget, you forecast revenue for the coming financial year, the 2011-12 financial year, as $3.738 billion. In your 2011-12 budget, you anticipate that revenue will now be $3.982 billion. Treasurer, given that revenue for the coming year will be nearly $250 million more than the government predicted back in 2008, why do you continue to claim that the global financial crisis caused your budget problems for 2011-12?
MS GALLAGHER: I think Mr Smyth understands, or I hope he does, that the global financial crisis, the ongoing impact of it, is being felt across financial years; it has been felt across the last two. Yes, the performance of our own economy has assisted us to recover, and to recover in time, which is exactly why we will see a $100 million turnaround—
Mr Smyth interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth!
MS GALLAGHER: in our bottom line after we have agreed to further spending and to continued loss of GST revenue. The budget outlines losses in GST revenue, continued losses—
Mr Smyth interjecting—
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, you asked your question.
MS GALLAGHER: which are linked to the global financial crisis of in the order of $216 million. We forecast a budget deficit for this financial year, as of last year, in the order of $130 million. We are now revising that budget deficit up, showing the improvement in the turnaround, basically due to our own-source revenues of $100 million, and our budget continues to grow. That is the answer, Mr Speaker. What the opposition will have you believe is that we are getting all this additional revenue and it is going nowhere. It is going into new services. The budget continues to grow. That is the plan that we started in 2008, when we said we would have a longer term recovery strategy for our budget, that we were not going to slash and burn, that we were going to be measured in our return to surplus.
Our recovery has occurred faster than we had thought, which is why we are returning to surplus two years ahead of time. Our own performance and additional revenue are assisting us to improve our bottom lines, as are the savings that we have outlined in the budget. All of those together give us a good way through and a return to surplus in