Page 1498 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 7 May 2008

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picked the site. The government gave the proponent the site. The government cannot wash its hands, as Mr Barr said, and walk away from the process. There must be consideration of the community in this. For a government that say they are so in touch with the community and they are out there and they are talking to the community, they must be deaf not to have known that this would occur.

Mr Barr graciously tries to give Mr Gentleman some credit for getting the time frame extended. I had already spoken to ActewAGL about this. Indeed, on the night of the meeting of the Tuggeranong Community Council last week, it already had on it “willingness to extend”. It was there. We had already had this discussion. Mr Pratt and I had already had this discussion.

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 12.30 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Budget—capital works

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, each year between 2002-03 and 2006-07, your government has underspent the capital works budget by between 36 per cent and 48 per cent of the revised estimated capital works budget. Over six years this adds up to an underspend of $659 million. Treasurer, why has your government consistently failed to achieve the delivery of the capital works budget?

MR STANHOPE: The ACT government has a proven track record of consistently delivering the annual capital works program. For the 2007-08 financial year, it forecast that 69 per cent of the revised capital works program would be spent. Taking into account the record level of forecast expenditure—in other words, $314 million—that will be a most significant achievement: in 2007-08 we will spend 69 per cent of the forecast budget. A total of $314 million of capital was delivered by this government over the course of this year. That is the highest level of capital ever achieved in any single year in the ACT by an ACT government. It is a very significant achievement.

It should also be noted that expenditure on capital works programs is often delayed due to factors which are largely outside the control of government—factors such as workforce availability, weather conditions, legal proceedings, and the need to carefully schedule works to minimise disruption and maintain continuity of services.

Expenditure on capital works—this is also relevant—has tripled since 2001-02. It has increased from $111 million in 2001-02 to a forecast $314 million, as I just said, for 2007-08, with delivery averaging around the same percentage of the revised budget, including rollovers, as each of those prior years. The average program—the original budget—between 1998-99 and 2000-01 was $86 million. The average program for the last three years—2005-06 to 2007-08—was $350 million. This is a 307 per cent increase over what the Liberal Party was delivering in government.

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