Page 125 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2006

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MR STANHOPE: We will not be doing that. We will not be making offers for pay that we cannot fund. We will not be negotiating 14 per cent pay rises without a single cent allocated in the outyears to cover it.

Mr Smyth: So what are you going to do? You don’t know.

MR STANHOPE: Yes we do. This of course is the sign of government that is in control, that is determined to govern for the benefit of the territory—and we have.

Mr Smyth: What—four deficits coming?

MR STANHOPE: Let us put those in perspective. We budgeted for $91 million.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, I warn you.

MR STANHOPE: We budgeted $91.5 million. I was disappointed that the shadow Treasurer did not have the grace to congratulate the significant improvement in that particular position. We have improved it by $56 million. At this stage we have a budget deficit for this year of $36 million or $37 million. What is that on a budget of around $3 billion? It is .01 per cent. Let us put this in some perspective. Let us understand what we are talking about here: a budget deficit for this year of .01 of a per cent of our budget—$30 million of a $3 billion budget. Let us not get carried away. Let us not go wobbly at the knees, as the others are wont to do.

Let us simply acknowledge it, as this government has—as reflected in its last budget, as will be reflected in the next budget, and as is given some credence through the appointment by the government of a high level functional and strategic review to look at the way in which we deliver services to ensure that we can maintain our budgetary priorities of balanced budgets over the cycle. And we will do it. At this stage, since being in government we have accumulated surpluses of around $230 million. I repeat: $230 million.

Mr Mulcahy: Read your own report.

MR STANHOPE: That is what it says: accumulated services over the cycle in four years of $230 million—the first deficit of $30-something million—.01 of a per cent. And we are working on it. The rest, in terms of the outyears, is receiving the very direct attention of the government.

Self-government act—amendment

MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question, through you, is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I understand that you wrote recently to the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Greens proposing a joint approach to the commonwealth seeking an amendment to the self-government act that would allow the Assembly to determine for itself issues about the number of MLAs and the size of the executive. I note that the Canberra Times reports today that Mr Smyth has declined to be associated with the move to extend the ACT’s self-determination. Chief Minister, can you say what reasons the opposition leader offered for this decision?

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