Page 220 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Budget—midyear review

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. The current ratio is a measure used to assess the liquidity of an entity. It measures the ability of an entity to meet current liabilities with current assets. As a rule of thumb, a ratio of greater than 1:1 indicates reasonable liquidity. A ratio of less than 1:1 indicates problems. Indeed, your budget paper 3 states:

… a ratio less than 1:1 may indicate an inability to meet short term liabilities.

The midyear review shows that the 2007-08 current liabilities will be $530 million, with current assets of only $503 million; that is, a ratio of less than 1:1. Chief Minister, why have your decisions allowed the government to spend beyond its means?

MR STANHOPE: We have not.

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, why is the trend over the next few years for the growth in current liabilities to overtake the growth in current assets? Who is going to pay for it? Will you now accept responsibility for the dire fiscal position your decisions have put the territory in?


Budget—superannuation liability

MR MULCAHY: My question is directed to the Treasurer. Page 269 of budget paper 3 of 2004-05—that is, the budget before last—states, in relation to superannuation liabilities, that:

Actuarial estimates are therefore subject to change as a result of various demographic factors such as … variations in benefit options taken by retiring members. In particular there has been a history of scheme members retiring earlier and an increasing tendency of retiring members opting to take their benefits by way of indexed pension.

It is clear that, as far as back 2004-05, the factors you blamed for the poor position of the territory’s finances were well understood. Given that this factor was well known 18 months ago, why did you claim that neither you nor government officials were aware of changing actuarial assessments until 29 November 2005?

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