Page 1460 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2006

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

will impact on confidence, will impact on economic activity, will impact on decisions that others around Australia will make about the ACT—and it is a fabrication. It is not true, it is false, and it will be shown to be false. It will, quite clearly and obviously, be shown to be false in the budget. All will be revealed in the budget. And what will be revealed in the budget is the extent of the lie in the claim of a $390 million deficit or of a worsening bottom-line position. In fact, of course, it will be revealed before then, when the next quarterly report is available on the table.

Commonwealth budget—impact on ACT

MS MacDONALD: My question is directed to Mr Stanhope in his capacity as Chief Minister and Treasurer. Can the Treasurer indicate the likely impact on the ACT of the commonwealth budget delivered last night? How will the territory benefit from the commonwealth’s expenditure of its larger-than-forecast surplus?

MR STANHOPE: It is a very important question. It needs to be acknowledged—as the Leader of the Opposition indicated in the preamble to his question; I made the point this morning and I make it again—that, in a purely personal and parochial sense, the federal budget delivered last night is a very good budget. Each of us that is a taxpayer and has a family will personally and directly benefit significantly from decisions that were announced last night by the Treasurer. Of course, the majority of people would accept that quite gratefully.

There are significant gains to be made at a personal level, in terms of a range of initiatives announced around income tax reductions and changes—reforms, as they are referred to—and significantly in relation to some of the decisions taken around new family benefits and arrangements. Some of the significant specific and targeted decisions around childcare and superannuation will have a direct, immediate impact on individuals’ disposable income.

In addition to that there are—this is where the parochialism of our response comes in—significant expenditure and policy decisions that directly impact the ACT in a capital sense, most notably for the Australian National University and in the future—sooner rather than later we would hope—in the decision to construct a new headquarters for ASIO and the Office of National Assessments.

I was encouraged by comments recorded today by the new chair of the NCA around the NCA’s and the commonwealth’s commitment to the Griffin plan and vision. I am hopeful, through that process, that there will be some capacity for the NCA—in seeking to bring home different aspects of the Griffin vision or plan to fill gaps—to not just automatically conclude that a new headquarters for ASIO and the Office for National Assessments should be necessarily located at Russell. There are other very significant sites that might be utilised that would assist in allowing the Griffin vision, perhaps in other places on Constitution Avenue.

There are a significant number of other particularly encouraging and valued decisions that have been made: a commitment of $30 million to the Gallery of Australian Democracy; $16.3 million over four years for the parliament and Civic education rebate program; and a number of other major refurbishments at Questacon, the National Library and the Attorney-General’s Office. Significantly, decisions have been taken that will

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .