Page 228 - Week 01 - Thursday, 16 February 2006

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particular issues, as it is not an issue that was negotiated or debated at the time, but it certainly is a matter of history that that 13 per cent which the commonwealth is now selling in the Snowy Mountains rightfully belongs to the people of the ACT.

Budget—midyear review

MR STEFANIAK: My question without notice is addressed to the Treasurer. Yesterday Mrs Dunne asked you about the current investments line in the midyear review balance sheet. You will recall that there will be a reduction in current investments during 2005-06 of $240 million, or around one-third of our total current investments. Mrs Dunne asked you where that $240 million of current investments had gone. In your reply you mentioned that non-current investments might account for it. Later you suggested that we look at the bottom line. Well, we have, and non-current investments increased by about $152 million. However, the bottom line of the balance sheet, net assets, goes down by $237 million. Given that neither the bottom line nor the non-current investments reconcile to the drop in current investments, can you provide a reconciliation of the $240 million drop in current investments?


Dr Foskey: It is a stupid question.

MR QUINLAN: It is still a dumb question. I think I tried to communicate that yesterday.

Mrs Dunne: They were dumb answers, Ted.


MR QUINLAN: The schoolboy chortle does not hide the fact that it is a dumb question.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The minister will come to the question.

MR QUINLAN: I said yesterday in my answer that if we are to reconcile we have to look at all the changes in the balance sheet. We can change from year to year between current and non-current investments, depending on the date that the investments mature. That is what decides whether an investment is current or non-current. That is the accounting rule for current investments. A non-current investment means we have to do something extra to liquidate it in the following accounting period. That is the end of the story.

If you want to try to reconcile the bottom line you look at all the shifts in liabilities. Here is a clue: we have just been talking about superannuation and an increase overnight of $300 million in our superannuation liability. Do you reckon that might go to your net worth, Bill? It does not. All I was trying to communicate yesterday is that you just have to look further than one line or two lines. If you are to reconcile the bottom line you have to reconcile the complete suite of increases in liabilities, decreases in assets, or increases in fixed assets because you might, in fact, be increasing your capital assets. That is the best that I can do.

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