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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1577 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Later this afternoon I will be presenting ownership agreements and purchase agreements relating to all portfolios.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, it is my pleasure and privilege to present the 2003-2004 budget for the Australian Capital Territory.

This budget, Labor's second, builds on our achievements and continues the process of reform since the Stanhope Labor government came to office 18 months ago.

It is also a budget formed against the confronting backdrop of the tragic January bushfires, an event unparalleled in Canberra's history.

Mr Speaker, this is a budget that provides a balanced response to the many competing needs of the territory.

This budget measures well against the targets that we have set ourselves.

It continues Labor's strong commitment to addressing the areas of real need in the community. There is more spending in health, education, housing and the environment. The budget also provides for business and continues to create an environment for business growth and expansion.

Mr Speaker, I am delighted to announce that this budget remains in surplus over the economic cycle. Labor will achieve an aggregate surplus of $66 million over the four year time frame. The budget keeps Canberra on the positive side of the ledger in very challenging economic conditions.

This budget has no new debt and no major asset sales.

Mr Speaker, the general government sector will be in deficit by $7.7 million in 2003-04. New spending in this budget, while considerably less than previous years, still allows for much needed pressures to be responsibly addressed. Importantly, this budget provides a program of bushfire related activity that will help restore the physical and social fabric of the territory. This activity is already well underway. I might add that this is very important to the psyche of Canberra.

Just as importantly, we have not let the job of bushfire recovery distract us from our main objectives of addressing key social, economic and spatial goals. This budget provides well targeted funding for health, education and economic growth.

It is a budget that reflects the government's commitment to building our city and building our community.

Employment and the economic outlook

Mr Speaker, I turn now to the economy. This budget has been framed upon the expectation of a solid ACT economy. Historically, the territory economy has generally

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