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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1436 ..

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Quinlan! You have asked your question.

MR HUMPHRIES: What kind of result would that be, Mr Speaker, to rely upon? They do not take into account the $102.4 million or thereabouts, for example, that the ACT raises in rates each year. You talk about a deficit now.

Mr Quinlan: So you put rates up by $170 million.

MR HUMPHRIES: Do you think the deficit might look different if you added the rates revenue to that figure? Is that conceivable, Mr Quinlan? I think it might be. Mr Quinlan also asserts in this press release that the ACT in the present financial year is incurring a $32 million deficit. Quite apart from the obvious ludicrousness of the fact that the Auditor-General of the territory has repeatedly affirmed the figures that the government has put on the table for succeeding years since 1995-96, and that we have published reports to demonstrate that, I have to ask the question: why-

Mr Quinlan: $170 million in one year.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Quinlan, would you like to be here to listen to the Opposition Leader's response to the budget or would you not?

Mr Smyth: Probably not.

MR HUMPHRIES: Probably not, actually. Yes, if the truth be known. If he thought that the territory was experiencing a $32 million deficit in this financial year, why did not Mr Quinlan say so when his committee reported on the supplementary appropriation which we discussed earlier this morning? Why did he not mention at that stage that he thought we were actually experiencing a deficit of $32 million? Mr Speaker, I think Mr Quinlan knows that this is a stupid piece of evidence to cite in support of his claims. He has been badly caught out. All I can do, Mr Speaker, is quote the final words of Mr Quinlan's own press release:

Personally, I am tired of misleading claims!

MR SPEAKER: Mr Quinlan, before you ask your question, I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of members of the University of the Third Age. Welcome to your Assembly.

ACT assets

MR QUINLAN: My question is to the Treasurer. This morning, Treasurer, in attempting to deny that you were running down the cash surpluses of the territory to a point where there is a grave risk of us declining into deficit, you stated that it is okay, our investments are increasing, and if in a pinch we will cash in some of those investments and everything will be okay. Can you advise this place that during the course of the rest of this year before the election you, as the incumbent, will be quite comfortable with any other party or candidate for election in October promising further initiatives beyond those that are in this budget, to be funded out of the liquidation of investments? You have confirmed what you said in a press release that came out today where you said, "Look, we have total cash and investments running up to $1.9 billion." I think that was

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