Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (28 October) . . Page.. 2354 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, it is of concern when the University of Canberra, which is now under the jurisdiction of the ACT, also escapes the operation of our Liquor Act, particularly when, according to the advertising, the university bar intends to begin trading on a 24-hour basis. That would be, I think, an extremely unfortunate development.
I have already written to Professor Don Aitkin, the vice-chancellor of the university, drawing this issue to his attention and asking him to prevent the university bar from adopting this trading policy. I have made it clear in the letter to him that it is the Government's policy that the university should be subject to the Liquor Act. The exemption in the Act is to be removed. The intention of the Government was to remove the exemption in legislation which will probably come to the Assembly early next year. If the university does press ahead with plans to trade on a 24-hour basis, I have indicated in this letter, and I indicate to the Assembly now, the Government will move swiftly to bring that exemption for the university to an end quickly. I am sure that the university would not wish that to happen and it would be better if the university operated fully and cooperatively under the terms of the Liquor Act even before it is, strictly speaking, required to do so.
MR WOOD: My question is to the Acting Chief Minister. Minister, your Government claims to make an effort to bring fees and charges into line with those of other States and Territories. We have also seen the use of benchmarks developed for the funding of departments and so on. With this in mind, can you say, firstly, how does our superannuation liability compare with that of other States and Territories and, secondly, is it true that the ACT liability represents only 6.2 per cent of our State final demand, which is the third lowest proportion of all jurisdictions in the country?
MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, it is true that there is at present a lower level of liability on the part of the ACT for superannuation, which seems to be the assertion of the Labor Party, but to focus on that fact alone is a highly selective use of statistics, and it is entirely at odds with the reality that the superannuation problem faced by the ACT is extremely serious and growing larger. Mr Speaker, at the moment our level of liability is relatively manageable, but bear in mind it was only about nine years ago that the Territory had no liability. Its liability has accrued at a quite large rate in the intervening period. To be frank, successive governments have not made sufficient provision for that liability. Indeed, I understand that the largest provision made for superannuation since self-government was $70m put aside by Mr Kaine when he was Chief Minister and Treasurer. The governments generally have not supplied sufficient funds for that purpose.
Mr Speaker, the issue is not the liability which has accrued so far; it is the liability which is emerging which is coming through to the ACT, and which is likely to be of enormous proportions in the future. As I said yesterday in this place, it will amount to $2.9 billion over the next 40 years. There is no way you can dress up that figure, massage it,