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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 2 Hansard (19 May) . . Page.. 343 ..

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, section 216A of the Land (Planning and Environment) Act 1991 specifies that a statement be tabled in the Legislative Assembly each quarter outlining the details of leases granted by direct grant, leases granted to community organisations, leases granted for less than market value and leases granted over public land. The schedules I have tabled cover leases granted for two periods: 1 October 1997 to 31 December 1997 and 1 January 1998 to 31 March 1998. Mr Speaker, I have also tabled other schedules in relation to variations approved and change of use charges for the same periods. A record of all new leases and applications to vary crown leases is available for public inspection at my department's shopfront at Dame Pattie Menzies House, 16 Challis Street, Dickson.

Ministerial Statement

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer): Mr Speaker, I ask for leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on the impact of the 1998-99 Federal budget on the Australian Capital Territory.

Leave granted.

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, the 1998-99 Federal budget has been labelled by many commentators as a low-risk budget for high-risk times, which I agree with entirely. To its credit, the Federal Government has stuck to its promises to deliver the first genuine surplus since the 1990-91 budget, with the capacity for further real surpluses in the future. The damage to national finances caused by the Keating-Beazley rush to the elections has largely been repaired, with Australia finally getting its public sector housekeeping under control.

Importantly, Mr Speaker, the "steady as she goes" approach will now set the scene for the Federal Government to concentrate on the next leg of its reform agenda - national tax reform - by delivering a comprehensive set of proposals to the Australian public, with the opportunity for debate. From my perspective, I will be pursuing an agenda calling for more certainty and a broader revenue base for the States and Territories, with an open view as to whether this can be achieved by some States' preferred option of a fixed share of Federal tax revenue.

Mr Speaker, the budget impact on the ACT contains no funding surprises. Importantly, Federal grants are in line with Premiers Conference expectations and our own budget forecasts. Under Commonwealth-State financial arrangements, the Commonwealth will be providing financial assistance of $548.5m to the ACT in 1998-99. This includes general revenue assistance of $310.4m and specific purpose payments of $248.4m. The total financial assistance for 1998-99 is $21.9m more than in 1997-98 and represents a nominal increase of 4 per cent, or 2 per cent in real terms.

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