Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (1 September) . . Page.. 1706 ..
Ms Carnell: Sorry, what are we talking about? Are we talking about the CFU?
Mr Humphries: Are you talking about Part 6 or Part 7?
MR QUINLAN: Yes, the Central Financing Unit.
Ms Carnell: Well, which bits are we talking about?
MR QUINLAN: I am just painting a picture. If we look at borrowing, we cannot use all of that. We want to assess where we are going in terms of future borrowing. We cannot really use it because we have already established that the forward estimates out beyond this year start to fall away very rapidly in terms of their usefulness.
Mr Moore: But this was important, so which recommendation did you put it in?
Ms Carnell: Can you tell us what you are talking about?
Mr Corbell: Mr Speaker, are you going to call them to order?
MR SPEAKER: No, I think it is reasonable. We are having a general debate. Mr Quinlan could assist the Government by specifying the area.
MR QUINLAN: I went to the Estimates Committee and asked about the contributions, the balancing figure in each of the budgets which was described at one stage as being virtually an inefficiency premium. I asked at that time: Is this totally an inefficiency premium, or is it the intention of government to continue to finance at that level? The answers were yes and no. So it really meant that the estimates that we were looking at were not of great use to anybody who wanted to know what the intentions were out there in terms of wind-back of expenditures, and expenditure wind-back obviously and expenditure levels have a direct impact on the level of borrowing. That was the point I wished to make in regard to the budget and its indication of borrowing.
Some of the outyears, in fact, record a possibility of double deficits where we are running at an operating loss and at a cash deficit, which has the indication that we are going to borrow more than might be projected. I think the budgets could be improved in that regard. I did notice in the budgets that there was some reference to refinancing borrowing over the next few years, which seemed to be a fairly sensible strategy, but then again there was no real itemisation of the benefits that might flow from that.
Ms Carnell: Lower interest rates.
MR QUINLAN: Let us hope so. Is there any estimate as to what the result might be so that we can conclude something beyond this year? The point that I simply wanted to make was that when we are looking at the budget through the avenue of the Central Financing Unit, we still have limitations because we have not actually described what we really intend to do in terms of the expenditure levels.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.