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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3383 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

I think that is the sort of restructuring that is absolutely essential for any large organisation that needs to change the things it does and the way it does them. That is what voluntary redundancy money is for. I am confident that Ms Follett would not have said that she was not interested in jobs when she was Chief Minister. Yet she put aside as much as $17m in one year for redundancies.

MS McRAE: Budget Paper No. 5 did say Jobs for Canberra. As a supplementary question, I ask: How many people do you estimate will be paid out to actually leave the Public Service under your $12m scheme?

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, as all of our redundancies are voluntary redundancies, it is very hard to set a figure. As we have no targets in that particular area, I would suggest that the number will not be all that high; but, of course, as we change our focus, as we become more service orientated and more customer focused in our area, it will mean that there will be some voluntary redundancies. There is no doubt about that.

Budget Outcomes

MR OSBORNE: My question is to the Chief Minister in her capacity as the Treasurer. Chief Minister, that pretty budget that you announced yesterday implies a $10m cash surplus. In accrued terms, this equates to a $232m operating loss. However, in cash management terms, this in reality represents a cash deficit of around $90m once the $100m worth of asset sales is taken out. Given this fact, how then can you suggest that we are living within our means? Do you not agree that in strict cash management terms the ACT will have a similar size deficit next year and in ongoing years? How do you intend to find the extra cash that we are going to need over the ensuing years?

MRS CARNELL: I suppose that what Mr Osborne is suggesting is that he thinks we should have gone down the path of significant expenditure reductions or a significant reduction in borrowings. That is the other option. We believe strongly, as I have said, that it was appropriate to go down the path of a countercyclical budget. We do not believe that significant redundancies - that is, significant expenditure reductions - were appropriate in this particular climate. I believe strongly that that approach would have brought this economy to an absolute standstill. It is right, as one particular economist suggested this morning, that there are some risks in this approach; that we have taken a risky approach in terms of stimulating the economy to try to get the whole thing going. We certainly have taken that approach.

Mr Osborne has said that we have said that we have a $10m cash surplus. We do. That situation is a turnaround from last year of $39.6m. Last year we had a $30m cash deficit. So there has been a turnaround of some $40m over that period of time. He also made the point that the operating loss is $232m. Again, that is actually the truth. The operating loss last year was $280m, Mr Osborne - giving a turnaround of $48m in accrued terms. So, no matter which way you look at it, the situation this year is better than the situation was last year.

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