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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1734 ..

Mr Stefaniak: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. During Mr Smyth's address, Mr Corbell on two occasions used the word "lie". He said, "It's a lie". Then, about 30 seconds later, he said, "It's another lie."I ask him to withdraw that.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Corbell, would you withdraw that?

Mr Corbell: On the point of order, Mr Speaker, I think only the member who is offended can take a point of order.

MR SPEAKER: I believe anybody can raise a point of order.

MR Corbell: I am happy to withdraw that comment.

MR STEFANIAK (3.45): Mr Speaker, as my colleague, Mr Smyth, has said, there are indeed some good points in this budget. I have been in this place for some time, and I think you can say that in every budget there are some good points. I will come, fairly soon, to a number of points in my own specific portfolio areas.

I also have been to a few of the budget functions so far. I think my colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, has made a number of very good general points. One is the need, first and foremost, for a broad base. I wonder if this budget gives us anything in relation to that.

I have a number of significant concerns in relation to where we are, in the territory, at this point of time. With record income and revenue coming in from such things as stamp duty, primarily, our situation is effectively based on the real estate boom we are experiencing.

In fact, we have $183 million extra income and revenue coming into the territory. Despite the fact that that has occurred in a financial year which has seen the ACT suffer loss as a result of the dreadful bushfires, through prudent management in the past and the fact that we are largely insured, that problem has been considerably restricted. Already $105 million has come in in insurance. It comes in and goes straight out again. On top of that, we still add $183 million.

Mr Speaker, this budget has a deficit of $7.7 million. It has a number of significant expenses. Next year, as my colleague has indicated, it should have $130 million less revenue, yet the Treasurer aims to be in surplus by $1.7 million.

If the Labor government, with the record amount of revenue we have seen coming in this year, can only deliver a budget that is still in deficit by $7.7 million, how on earth, when they are anticipating $130 million less revenue, are we going to see a budget with a surplus of $2 million? I will believe that when I see it, Treasurer.

As I indicated, there are a number of good things in this budget. I will come to some of my portfolio areas. In relation to the Attorney-General's portfolio, I was pleased to see initiatives such as mediation of property disputes before the AAT. I think that is a sensible initiative. That will save time, and it will simplify the process before that body.

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