Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2005) . . Page.. 2384 ..
undertaken by WorkCover Authority in New South Wales on client-related violence in residential care service group homes.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—Part 1.6—Department of Treasury, $40,116,000 (net cost of outputs), $24,950,000 (capital injection) and $38,156,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $103,222,000.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (4.56): Obviously there are a couple of issues that I would like to address. Most of these matters were canvassed at different stages through estimates. Some were the subject of observation in the main report; some were the subject of observation in the dissenting report.
One of the matters of concern—and I am not entirely sure that the Treasurer is at major variance with my view on this because some concessions have been made—is the issue of the reported loss of $356 million on the GFS net operating balance basis which, of course, is brought back to a loss of only $91 million on the AAS31 operating result, achieved in the main through land sales of $174 million and revaluation of financial assets. Obviously these matters are the subject of further ongoing review and discussion.
There was an indication, I think from the officials in the estimates hearing, that there would be examination of or ongoing talks about the method of presentation of the accounts and the accounting standards applied. Without overstating the case, I think the tenor of that advice before the committee was that there is sympathy towards a more uniform approach to the presentation of these documents across Australia. The only jurisdiction I can recall presenting their accounts in this form is Victoria. There are those—and one might say they are the purists—who believe that the method of presentation is more appropriately through the GFS net operating balance figure that I referred to earlier.
There are concerns about the reliance on land sales for annual revenue and the manner in which that comes into play in terms of the true accuracy of the bottom line of the budget. That is a matter that I simply flag as being of concern. I am not suggesting that the government is deceiving us in any way—those figures are available within the budget papers—but I have certainly had a strong view put to me that we ought to be making changes there and I will be keen to hear what further developments occur in relation to that area.
I suppose a more critical issue—and I alluded to this earlier today—is the matter of stamp duty on commercial conveyancing. I have seen persuasive information that, of all the reforms that potentially can be made by the territory government, concessions in this area would have the greatest capacity to generate economic activity within our territory and ought to have been seriously considered by the Treasurer in the course of framing this budget and in the course of the discussions he had with his colleagues in other states.
The committee has made a recommendation that the government review stamp duty on commercial conveyance in light of the GST windfall, and this has been the subject of discussion both within and outside the Assembly for many months. I do not think the level of windfall in the gross is disputed. The Treasurer rapidly seeks to suggest that the