Page 1365 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2006

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commitments to balanced budgets over the cycle. We have not just had net balanced budgets over the cycle but have accumulated surpluses of the order of $250 million over the cycle to date. As the cycles roll, it is our determination to maintain our commitment to achieving that.

That is not what the opposition want to hear. They do not want to hear about accumulated surpluses, surpluses achieved in every budget under this government. They wish to go to an accounting standard which, historically, has not been adopted. One of the reasons why the Liberal Party did not adopt or embrace GFS was the particular circumstance of the territory—the historical reliance by my government and by your governments on land sales. The issue about the blow-out in the GFS is related very much to land sales.

In the conversation I have been seeking to engender, at the heart of the issue which this community and successive governments, including this government, need to grasp, is the reliance on the serendipitous nature of land sale revenue and receipts and superannuation revenue. At the heart of the enormous fluctuations in the GFS over the period is the level of land sales and the receipts from land sales. We have come through an historic land boom in the ACT. In regard to land sales and superannuation, as you know, Mr Mulcahy—I assume you know; perhaps you do not; one would not be surprised if you do not—the reason you did not adopt GFS in government is the incapacity, under the general finance statistic method of reporting, of accounting for land sales or superannuation receipts.

What did we budget for over the last couple of years? It was $159 million. Our land sales revenue was vastly greater than that. Yes, we have, in responding to those gaps in service delivery from you, invested those funds.

MR SPEAKER: The minister’s time has expired.

MR MULCAHY: Can the Treasurer tell us whether Mr Costello provided advice to the government on how to go about restoring the GFS outcome to surplus?

MR STANHOPE: It is interesting that it is the same supplementary question as Mr Smyth’s. I do not know whether Mr Smyth did not have a supplementary and pinched yours, Mr Mulcahy, in the way that last week the Leader of the Opposition pinched your position on the estimates committee. We know he did. Let us not blush about this; let us be open about it. While Mr Mulcahy was away in London during a sitting week—an uncomfortable place to be during a sitting week—the Leader of the Opposition brought on, unannounced and unexpectedly, a motion seeking to establish an estimates committee. It did not need to be done last week; it could have been done next week in the presence of the shadow treasurer. We find the shadow treasurer missing off the list.

MR SPEAKER: Come to the subject matter of the supplementary question.

MR STANHOPE: I was just commenting on the fact that it is exactly the same supplementary question that the Leader of the Opposition just asked and that I have answered. I do not know whether it is appropriate, in that context, for supplementary

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