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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1535 ..

MR SPEAKER: I would think that people in the community would imagine the word "manic" used in reference to all members of the Assembly was most appropriate, Mr Moore. However, if it is offensive, I am sure Mr Quinlan will withdraw it. I remind members again that we are dealing with the Appropriation Bill. This is an important piece of legislation. I do not want frivolous interjections and points of order. Thank you.

MR QUINLAN: I might repeat that paragraph, changing that word. In the course of the wider ACTEW debate, one thing remained constant. Mrs Carnell was feverish in her desire to flog it. Numbers changed to suit her reasons. Stated reasons changed as they were successively debunked. Only the determination to sell held firm. After that exhibition of blinkered fervour, does anyone here even entertain the notion that her motivation to sell, whatever its base really is, has dissipated? I do not think so.

Her repatriation of capital from ACTEW was never recommended as a stand-alone solution. It complemented the Government's 1998 budget commitment to apply $200m from operations over four years and the setting aside of a dividend flow from ACTEW that would have disappeared if that utility had been sold off. We now see in this budget the Government reneging on its much heralded contribution to provide for superannuation. The Government now stands as the one that has provided, from its own management, the least funds for past service superannuation. In fact, this Government, aside from the ACTEW repatriation, has provided nothing to the superannuation unfunded liability over three years. This is after we have dumped the $200m plan that the superannuation committee recommended be kept.

If you think it through, using ACTEW funds to replace the commitment, to make provisions out of operations, is not a lot different from selling off part of ACTEW. Our overall equity position declines as a result. What is our Government doing? More precisely, what is this fly mob trying to put over us - or at least over the crossbenches? I do not suppose they care much if Labor can see through their dodgy schemes.

Important figures are to be found in the statements for the Superannuation and Insurance Provision Unit. Despite the injection of $300m from ACTEW, the financial position of that unit improves by only $176m. We put in $300m, and it still declines. We should have seen an improvement in excess of $300m. We should have seen the $300m contribution, we should have seen the interest accumulated for the year and we should have seen the contributions made by agencies to the Central Financing Unit. Where has the money gone?

In the forecast for the outyears the answer is quite clear. After we make the one-off injection of funds, the Government has chosen to revert to funding the emerging costs and new service employee costs only. The strategy that the superannuation committee, the Australian Government Actuary and Towers Perrin have all agreed is imprudent has been rejected wholeheartedly. The interesting fact is that, while our superannuation liabilities are in fact increasing from $1.4 billion in 1998-99 to $2.165 billion in 2002-03, we are going to see borrowings increase from about $470m to $670m over the same period. This is just for the general government sector. The total Territory borrowings will increase to $871m.

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