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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 November 2011) . . Page.. 5293 ..

grown to $15.9 billion, whilst net debt remains in a negative position, demonstrating that the territory’s cash reserves and investments are greater than our gross debt liabilities.

The headline net operating balance has improved by $3.2 million compared to the 2010-11 estimated outcome and is a $12.4 million improvement from the June interim result. The improvement over the interim outcome is a result of technical variation identified through the agency audit process in relation to the recognition of additional revenue by ACT Health, as required by Australian accounting standards, for funding decisions taken by third parties in relation to grants, specific initiatives and research funding.

Whilst the outcome indicates that we are in a surplus position, we do remain mindful that this is boosted by revenues from the commonwealth government stimulus initiatives. Once these are excluded, the underlying GGS net operating balance is a deficit of $69 million. The commonwealth stimulus packages have been very welcome, at least on this side of the chamber. Their initiatives, as well as the government’s own, have been essential in supporting jobs in the ACT economy and have certainly assisted in maintaining the strong confidence that there is in the territory’s economy.

I am pleased to report that the economy is growing strongly, with reported growth of the territory’s state final demand of 5.8 per cent in the year to June 2011, outperforming the Australian national figure of 1.4 per cent. Household final consumption grew by four per cent, supported by real wages growth, solid employment growth and strong population growth.

As we undertook stimulus measures to counteract the effects of the global financial crisis, now that the economy is recovering the government is committed to returning the budget to surplus, particularly taking into consideration the fiscal debate at the federal level and the risks that this presents for the territory’s economy and budget.

As I have indicated before in this place, uncertainty still remains in relation to sovereign debt concerns in Europe and the continuing challenges faced by the United States in stimulating their own economy and boosting employment. This global economic slowdown may continue to impact on our budget. Should a significant negative scenario occur, the government stands ready to respond as and when necessary.

I can advise members that the next update of the territory’s financial position will be released with the budget review in February 2012, including a review of our revenue forecast and the impacts of the commonwealth’s midyear economic and fiscal outlook.

The financial statements I present today have been prepared in accordance with Australian accounting standards and are in line with the requirements of the Financial Management Act 1996. I commend the 2010-11 consolidated annual financial statements for the territory and associated reports to the Assembly. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

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