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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 5 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 1219 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

that determine the future of those businesses, can use to sensibly predict the government's future economic strategy.

It will take time, and I expect that it will be next year before we see the actual paper, but it will provide a positive legacy for the future and for future governments-probably future Labor governments.

MS MacDONALD: Can the Deputy Chief Minister inform the Assembly whether this is the first document of its type to be introduced in the ACT?

MR QUINLAN: As a matter of fact, now that you mention it, I think it is. Unless there was something done in the early years of self-government, I think this is the first time that there has been a positive, forward-looking approach to industry development, rather than purely reactionary developments, or the grabbing hold of sexy-looking opportunities with a minimal amount of forethought.

Commission of audit

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Quinlan. Minister, in tabling the so-called commission of audit in this place on 7 March, you said:

I commend this report to commentators, who may later wish to give their assessments of the ACT finances. As I complained during question time, there is a paucity in this town of in-depth analysis.

Minister, Access Economics has now given its assessment of the ACT's finances in its Budget Monitor, which contained the following statement:

While the mid-year review does not reveal the Government's plans, there are no grounds for believing that the Government faces the proverbial Budget black hole. The former government's relaxation of budgetary policy has not resulted in an emergence of an underlying cash deficit.

Minister, would you agree that independent commentators who have looked at the budgetary position that you inherited do not agree with claims in the so-called commission of audit that we left the ACT in a poor financial position? If not, can you name an independent commentator that agrees with your assessment? Can you advise the Assembly what the Treasury is currently forecasting the operating result for 2001-02 to be?

MR QUINLAN: My how times have changed. I can remember being in this place and Mr Humphries telling us what Access Economics did not know about the ACT economy, and challenging those figures.

This question seems to be the first round of an MPI which is to be discussed in this place today. But I will say that Access Economics uses government financial statistics-the GFS system-as opposed to accrual accounting as the measure in its summary. Over time, GFS has approached accrual accounting as other states have developed their accounting systems towards accrual accounting. But it still represents to some extent the lowest common denominator. There are, of course, significant differences.

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