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Mr Speaker, I have previously made the point that I considered that Mrs Carnell's effort in achieving special revenue assistance for the Territory could have been better. I repeat that I believe that Mrs Carnell had every right to negotiate for around $20m, and she would have needed to start with about $35m to get to the figure of $20m. The $15m that was achieved was very scant indeed, and the fact that it was conditional upon the land swap with Acton Peninsula, I believe, was disgraceful. I have expressed previously my disappointment in my Federal colleagues for insisting on that. I would advise Mrs Carnell, if she gets to go to another Premiers Conference, that, rather than negotiating one on one with the Prime Minister, she might do better if she were to caucus with her very large number of Liberal colleagues and try to get some support from them in getting a better outcome for the Territory. That is just a little tip that I pass on gratis.

There are a couple of other points I would like to make. Firstly, it is, as Mrs Carnell said, a very important decision for the States and Territories that the Commonwealth has continued the real per capita guarantee for general revenue funding to the States and Territories. This will not impact immediately on the ACT because we are still moving towards State-type funding and are still having reductions in our funding, but in the next couple of years it will make all the difference in the world. Throughout the earlier period of self-government, one of the enormous difficulties we had in our budgeting was that there was no certainty about how much of that very important Commonwealth revenue we would get from year to year. In fact, the reductions have been up to 20 per cent. That certainty, I believe, does provide something of a safety net for the States and Territories, and I welcome that.

I also welcome the outcome on the compensation of States and Territories for the Hilmer competition reforms. The last COAG meeting I attended was, I believe, the one where the Commonwealth made a quite derisory offer to the States and Territories of $700m all up. It was my view, and it was certainly the view of the other States and Territories, that that amount in no way recognised the impact of the Hilmer reforms on States and Territories. I am very pleased to see that the offer has been increased to $2.4 billion, payable over nine years. But there is a sting in the tail. As always, the Commonwealth giveth and the Commonwealth taketh away. I notice that, whereas the Territory's income from that Hilmer compensation is expected to be about $3.4m, commencing in 1997-98, in their budget last night the Commonwealth took a unilateral decision on another matter - to change the indexation arrangements for specific purpose payments to the States and Territories. The impact of that decision by the Commonwealth will be to cost all of the States and Territories collectively about $350m, but for the ACT the cost will be about $3.5m in 1998-99. So, whilst we might get the money under Hilmer in 1997-98, we will lose it under the reviewed indexation arrangements the following year. That, I am afraid, is an all too common experience with largess from the Commonwealth.

I want, finally, to make the point that, despite Mrs Carnell's rhetoric about council-style government, I trust that she will do nothing to jeopardise the Territory's attendance as a full negotiating and voting member at Premiers Conferences. I believe that it is absolutely essential that we have our own representative, our own head of government, at that forum to argue for the Territory. Even when the result is not too terrific, as it was

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