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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 158 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Anchorage, which constituted the most sustained attack on crime in the history of the ACT. We must continue to strive for a community where the favourable statistics resulting from operations like Anchorage are no longer the target, but the base from which new achievements and further reductions in crime can be made.

We are committed to working closely with our police and often underrecognised emergency services personnel from day one to make sure that we continue to provide a level of comfort to the community that their families and households are protected. But more than that, Mr Speaker, we want to create and maintain an atmosphere of real safety so that people can enjoy the city that is theirs to enjoy without fear. It is as much about a state of mind as a measurable reduction in crime statistics.

Mr Speaker, I will turn firstly to specifics of the Treasury portfolio. You have heard the Chief Minister refer to the government's core values of honesty, openness, fairness and responsibility. Let me assure the people of Canberra that these principles extend to the way that this government will manage the territory's finances. Our commitment to these values will ensure that we balance the need to reduce inequality with the need to promote economic growth. We will also entrench the idea that these need not be competing interests.

I am somewhat preoccupied with how we might develop our first budget. Mr Speaker, it is important that we understand the economic climate in which we are currently operating. In 1999-2000, the ACT economy grew by 4 per cent. Last year, it grew by 3.4 per cent. Treasury predicts the growth rate will fall to 3.1 per cent this year, but this will be influenced by the fallout from global economic conditions and the spending priorities of the federal government.

Approximately one-third of the ACT's $2 billion-plus in annual revenues is sourced from taxes, fees and fines. The remainder relates to federal funding, user fees and charges, and investment revenue. Stamp duties tend to be our most volatile source of revenue, with conveyance duties particularly influenced by activity in the housing and commercial properties market. The short-term outlook for Canberra's housing market is positive, due to the low interest rate environment and continued influence of the first home owners grant scheme. Nevertheless, a downturn in market activity would have a detrimental impact on these revenues and we should remember that the impact of the first home owners grant scheme cannot last forever.

The outlook for the global and national economies has implications for investment revenue, particularly the funds invested on behalf of the superannuation provision account. Due to the volatility of financial markets, the one-off shock of the terrorist attack on the US and the downturn in the global economy, investments to the end of October returned a negative $23 million.

While improvements in the value of our investments may reduce the impact on the end-of-year position, it is forecast that the impact on the ACT's bottom line will be a sizeable end-of-year operating deficit. That is, Mr Speaker, the last government has almost certainly passed on a projected end-of-year operating deficit, and this is something we have inherited against a background of a more difficult economic outlook.

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