Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2327 ..
As has been pointed out, $2.9 million was to be spent this year on the data communications strategy initiative. It is a shame that project has not gone ahead. I think it is important that we commit ourselves to timetables and stick to them so that we do not have uncertainty in the budget process and we achieve the purpose of the appropriation. When money is put aside it is important that it is spent on that target. It is most important that we achieve that.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure-part 1.10-Superannuation Unit, $68,800,000 (capital injection) and $43,968,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $112,768,000.
MR SMYTH(Leader of the Opposition) (5.33): There has been an enormous amount of interest in the superannuation accounts these years, and I think it is warranted. It is a very important account because it holds the futures of all our public servants as they choose to retire. With the state of world markets and the fluctuations we are all aware of, we are all looking forward to what already appears to be occurring: the improvement in the returns on this account as global equity markets slowly improve.
We are concerned at the impact of the reduction in the asset of the SPA due to the reduction in investment earnings during the year 2002-03, which at this stage appears to be about $10 million. We are waiting for the update and are all optimistic that this will turn around during the 2003-04 year. Indeed, the budget papers anticipate a gain in investment earnings during the year 2003-04 of around $59 million.
At the same time, the employer contributions to the superannuation provision account are scheduled to continue increasing in the year 2003-04 and in the outyears. In the coming budget it is $14.1 million, $14.7 million the year after, then $14.9 million, and $15.1 million in the following years. This is supported by separate contributions from the government, as a strategy to build up the asset of the SPA so that, by the year 2039-40, the ratio of assets to liabilities will be around 90 per cent. There is a continuation of the strategy that the previous government set.
In the year 2003-04, there will be a contribution of close to $69 million, increasing to $73 million then $75 million in the next two outyears. It is worth noting, however, that the budget papers do not reveal all the details that are necessary to evaluate the performance of the superannuation provision account. It would be beneficial if there was information at an aggregate level on the transactions that take place within the SPA, particularly on the realisation of assets and the outcomes of these transactions.
Also, included in Table 5 at point 2.9 of BP3 are details of the interest received by the superannuation account on its assets. Again, unfortunately, it is not possible to identify these funds, because they are aggregated with other amounts. The need for greater clarity and transparency in these transactions is worth consideration.
I would also question whether there are more appropriate performance indicators than those shown on page 125 of BP4. The indicators, particularly on this page, are virtually worthless as they appear, and we need to put some thought into developing