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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1592 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Mr Speaker, in summing up, let me say that this budget contains:

new recurrent spending of $47 million;

115 new initiatives;

new capital works programs of $105 million;

no major asset sales;

no new borrowings; and

an aggregate surplus of $66 million over the four-year economic cycle.

This is a strong budget.

This is a budget that is fiscally responsible and socially responsible.

It is a budget that continues to deliver on our election commitments.

It is a budget that builds our city and builds our community.

I commend the 2003-2004 budget to the Assembly. I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to the next sitting.

Bushfire Reconstruction Levy Bill 2003

Mr Quinlan presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (3.49): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, the Bushfire Recovery Levy Bill 2003 provides a legislative basis for an initiative announced in the budget of 2003-04. This initiative will implement a bushfire reconstruction levy to help finance recovery activities after the January 18 bushfire disaster in the ACT.

The bushfire was one of Australia's worse single day disasters. There was tragic loss of life and serious injuries. Some 500 homes, businesses, community and government facilities and rural properties were destroyed, with many other properties damaged. Included in the losses were stock, ACT government facilities, assets, sporting facilities, wildlife and pets.

This bill is designed to raise revenue by way of a levy on property owners to partially meet the costs of the bushfire. Let me stress "partially". The levy will be implemented for a two-year period from 2003-04 and a rate will be determined each year to provide approximately $5 million net annually. The levy will be calculated by applying the

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