Page 1551 - Week 05 - Thursday, 11 May 2006

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Mr Smyth: Are you replacing it or not?

MR STANHOPE: No, we are not. But we are creating a shared services regime under a single manager with corporate overall management responsibilities overseen by each of our chief executives to ensure that the particular agency requirements are met, and met well and appropriately. That was the purpose of the example I used in relation to Oracle.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Chief Minister, as you have now confirmed that you are not replacing Oracle, does that mean that your statements that Oracle does not provide a central financial system were yet another example of your inept handling of the shared services proposal?

MR STANHOPE: No, it does not. I just explained the purpose of my example. I think it was a good example. It was an example that provided simply one explanation for some of the disadvantages of decentralisation and some of the efficiencies that can be gained through the creation genuinely of a shared services corporate sector management structure.


MS PORTER: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. In recent days the Leader of the Opposition has made repeated assertions and allegations of a serious deterioration in the ACT’s budget position, to the extent that he has asserted that the territory will face a deficit of $390 million in 2007-08. Does the Chief Minister have any information on the current budget position that he could pass on to the Assembly?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Porter for the question, which is a very relevant and pertinent one to be asked in the context of the hysteria that has been whipped up by the Leader of the Opposition in relation to this particular issue—namely, the current state of ACT finances. I am in a position today to update members on the current—and I emphasise “current”—budget position of the territory. Members would be aware of the requirement on the Treasurer to table a quarterly consolidated financial report. The report for the March quarter of 2006 is due. In fact, I will table it today but I can give members a preview of what it contains.

The March quarter consolidated financial report clearly indicates—and, of course, it is the March quarter—that, despite any catastrophic, unforeseen event, the ACT is indeed heading quite clearly for its fifth consecutive budget surplus. That is a surplus for every year Labor has been in office: five consecutive budget surpluses. The report obviously does not project the extent of that surplus—it is not meant to—or even indicate an imagined or apparent outcome but, on the results, it reports that there is no other conclusion to be drawn but that for this financial year this government will produce a fifth consecutive surplus.

The March quarter results in the main reflect the impact of large gains in territory superannuation assets, driven by the very strong performance of financial markets in the first nine months of 2005-06. The gains mean that the general government sector year-to-date operating result for the end of March is a surplus of $155 million. The

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