Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (17 June) . . Page.. 1898 ..
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth.
Mr Smyth: Mr Speaker, with reference to standing order 118 (a), I did ask for the latest update. I do appreciate the other things that the Treasurer is speaking of and I am sure the figure will change between now and 30 June, but I was asking for the latest update, the latest estimate of the budget outcome for this year, the one that he has at the moment.
MR SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr Smyth. Would you come to the point of the question?
MR QUINLAN: Given that it is a formal question before the Assembly, as I have said in response, there is no formal figure set.
Mr Smyth: I am happy to have an informal one. Informal would be fine.
MR QUINLAN: If you want to take an informal figure, I think that the Chief Minister's figure is pretty close.
MR SMYTH: When did Treasury first give you this revised estimate?
MR QUINLAN: Treasury have not given me a revised estimate in a formal sense.
Mr Smyth: All right, an informal one then.
MR QUINLAN: Well, they have not. I talk to them every week. I have a formal briefing every week and say, "Where are we up to?"They say, "This has happened, that has happening, we are debating this."I have often actually sent Treasury off and said, "I want you to look at a couple of accounting questions for me."Take the $10 million for NICTA for this year: it is probable that we will not hand the money over. Should we, in an accounting sense, put that on the balance sheet? It is a commitment, but is it a liability for this year? Should it go against the bottom line this year or should it not?
Accounting standards, because of abuses-outside this place, he said quickly-are moveable feasts, and in fact it may not be the case that we can legitimately write that off this year. That is a $10 million difference, unresolved. A number of other resolutions are to be made-
Mr Smyth: That is okay. When did they tell you $100 million?
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Smyth.
MR QUINLAN: They said to me, "There are a number of items here. There is the possibility of additional tax revenue and there is the possibility of a stock market that has improved and will improve further."The main two elements of what Mr Stanhope has told the public are that we did better on land sales and that the stock market has improved. That is the sum total of what is incorporated in there. Let me tell you, not between now and 30 June, but between now and 30 September, there will be a moveable feast and a debate on what the actual bottom line is. Can I tell you now what that bottom line will be in September?