Page 136 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2006

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MR STANHOPE: We will stare down the deficit and produce over the term a budget cycle surplus, as we have always predicted. In fact, we are well on the way towards doing that. In relation to the hard decisions that need to be taken, this is the government that will take them. There are hard decisions that need to be taken in relation to our structures and the way in which we deliver services. That is reflected perhaps by the most important information revealed in the Productivity Commission’s review of governance released two weeks ago.

If one reads and carries out a detailed analysis across the board in relation to service delivery—an issue that stares this community and this government in the face and that has stared every other government in the face—one finds that the cost of service delivery within the territory runs somewhere between 16 per cent and 20 per cent above the national average. The most significant issue facing this community is that we, in delivering the services that we deliver in the ACT, do it at a cost of between 15 per cent and 20 per cent more than the national average, and it is unsustainable.

Budget—midyear review

MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Treasurer. On page 28 of the Mid year review there is an analysis of the balance sheet for the general government sector and this analysis shows that there will be a reduction in current investments during 2005-06 of $240 million, or about a third of the total current investments from the close of last year’s budget. Treasurer, where did the $240 million of current investments go?

MR QUINLAN: I will have to have a look at that, because it is facile to look at current investments by themselves. Most people, and anybody who would stand to ask a question like that, would understand that a balance sheet, particularly the balance sheet of an enterprise, a government, like this, has to look at both current and non-current investment to look at the wealth position.

If you have a situation where you have declining cash—we have already discussed that here—you would probably have a reduction in current investments, because current investments are the short-term stuff, the stuff that is going to be realised within the space of 12 months; that is by the definition. As such, you would think that we probably would not have at balance day as much money on the short-term money market or in short-term investments, because that is our liquidity.

To be looking behind that question to how we are going overall, you really have to look at the whole balance sheet, at current investments and non-current investments, and then look at the bottom line. Mr Mulcahy loves the GFS. If you look elsewhere in the report, although I cannot remember exactly where, it looks at our net worth under GFS and shows an immediate decline this year of about $300 million. That is the quantum of the superannuation liability change, the increase, and therefore it changes the equation. On page 21 you find that over the space of the next few years our net worth returns to $9.3 million. From 2005-06 to 2008-09 net worth shifts from $9.3 million to $9.3 million. I am sure that has not escaped your notice, Mr Mulcahy, your being an assiduous fan of the GFS system, that being—what would you think—probably a key indicator. It says it is a key indicator in here; that is our claim. It is a net worth from

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