Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (25 June) . . Page.. 1088 ..
MR KAINE (continuing):
So, Mr Speaker, as I said, this is the year in which taxation by stealth becomes firmly embedded in our budget. The money will presumably again be hypothecated - to use that nasty word, or it used to be a nasty word - instead of going into Consolidated Revenue, where the Government then has the flexibility to use it where it is needed, in the event that the amount of money collected is greater than what they need to provide these emergency services. So, as I see it, it is a bad deal all around. It is a bad deal for the customer. It is a bad deal for the Government, because it will not necessarily have the flexibility that it would like to have with the revenues that it raises.
Mr Speaker, in summary, it is an ordinary budget. It does not do anything much for anybody. The one useful contribution is the superannuation provision. But, beyond that, it has some hidden problems, some of which will not emerge until the Estimates Committee digs them out of the Government during the Estimates Committee process.
MR CORBELL (4.46): Mr Speaker, as our colleague Mr Kaine has just said, much of the detail and much of the real significance of this budget will not come to light until the Estimates Committee process has run its course, so I will be leaving much of the areas about which I have a particular concern for that process. But there are some general points about the structure of this budget, about the philosophy of the Government and of particular members of the Government and how they have gone about structuring this budget, which I do have a real concern about, and I would like to highlight those this afternoon.
Mr Speaker, I am particularly interested in Mr Moore. I heard Mr Moore talking about how this was the best budget he has seen since self-government. He said that this was the best budget since self-government. He said it was a clever budget, he said it was a caring budget, and he wedded himself firmly - so, so, firmly - to this budget. He said things like, "It is a clever budget because it is dealing with issues like borrowings, and it is dealing with issues like providing services". He said all of those things. I would have thought, when Mr Moore was so unequivocal in his praise, that what he is saying is, "The idea to sell the streetlights to ACTEW is a good idea". I am sure that is what Mr Moore was saying when he made the comments he made in the house earlier this afternoon. I thought, "Gee, that is interesting. It is interesting for Mr Moore to be saying these things", because I was doing some research on what people have said in relation to budgets in previous years, and I was comparing and contrasting - a normal exercise that many of us go through.
I looked at what Mr Moore said last year about last year's budget. You will remember that last year the Carnell Government said that they were going to require extra money from ACTEW, $100m. They were going to borrow money from ACTEW. They were going to take it out of the cash reserves, and they were also requiring an extra dividend. What did Mr Moore say about that? What did Mr Moore say about aspects of the ACTEW budget last year? Remember that he said this year that borrowing from ACTEW and selling the streetlights is quite acceptable. What did he say last year? Last year, referring to the Chief Minister, he was quoted in the Canberra Times as having said:
She is shifting borrowing from the Government to ACTEW on a grand scale.