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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 4 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 1149 ..

MR QUINLAN: Yes, I am. I think the Assembly should be aware-and I will repeat it-that funding we normally receive under that heading, which is to compensate the territory in the main for police services that are provided and for some corporate taxes the Commonwealth handles, has been excluded from the offer made to the ACT, with the statement by the federal Treasurer that we will tie this in with discussions on the Prime Minister's offer to give the ACT consideration of additional assistance, given the magnitude of the disaster of the bushfires of 18 January.

I am presuming that our Prime Minister is an honourable man and that that offer was a genuine offer. However, it is quite disconcerting that an amount of money which is provided for a specific purpose, a purpose unrelated to the bushfires, is being withheld and somehow tied in so that we have two unrelated items to be negotiated together. It sounds as if the Commonwealth does not want to honour that commitment but still wants some money to be thrown around at the end of the negotiations, or it suggests something more sinister about the future of that funding. All members of this Assembly should be concerned about that. I will keep the house informed.

Mr Stanhope: I ask that further questions be place on the notice paper, Mr Speaker.

Economic white paper

MR QUINLAN: During question time, I took a question from Mr Smyth in relation to funding for the economic white paper. I was able to point out to him that the budget papers show that there is $500,000 allocated towards the establishment of that white paper. Mr Smyth then referred to page 163 of budget paper 3, saying it appeared as though it was only $250,000.

It may have been tempting. In governments past, initiatives were announced more than once. The section from which Mr Smyth extracted his information on page 163 is part of the section of the budget paper called "Initiatives Explained"-initiatives, Mr Speaker, implying something new.

We have here a situation where an original $250,000 was appropriated during Supplementary Appropriation Bill No 2 of 2001-02. The budget for 2002-03 adds $250,000 to that-something new. If you had looked at page 35, Mr Smyth, you would have seen that there is a sum of $500,000 in the column 2002-2003. Maybe we need to simplify the budget papers for your benefit. However, it is pretty clear that $500,000 has been added. If one is looking at initiatives, one ought not be taking those as gross figures. They are supposed to be what they are-initiatives explained. That is the explanation, Mr Speaker.

I did not hear the news item but I recall being quizzed by at least one member of the media about this. There was further confusion, with Mr Smyth claiming we had not allowed for GST. He reading the budget papers incorrectly.

Mr Smyth: Your staff used the GST excuse. I did not raise GST.

MR QUINLAN: Okay, I will not pursue that-I will take your word for it, Mr Smyth. That was what I heard from a member of the media who thought you were of the mind that we had not allowed for GST, when in fact we do not pay it. We do pay it, but claim

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