Page 2064 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

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the same level as in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia and lower than in South Australia. The ABS data indicate that the total of state and local government taxation in the ACT is lower than the national average and lower than in most states. While our revenue raising effort is around the national average, our expenditure effort is above average; that is to say that the claims that I have made in relation to this remain. Queensland got it wrong in its comparison of ACT taxes with others by including, only for the ACT, general rates and not including them for any other. That reduces our per capita tax take to $2,510.

Mr Mulcahy, I will just study this table but I am more than happy, after giving it some consideration, to table it.

Mr Mulcahy: It’s not the table; I’ve got that. It’s the services.

MR STANHOPE: I will take that aspect of your question on notice.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question?

MR MULCAHY: I look forward to the response to that. Given that it appears that the ACT government combines the functions of a state government with those of a local council, why is the ACT unable to achieve greater cost savings through economies of scale?

MR STANHOPE: It goes to the level of expenditure effort which one engages in. It is an issue for the ACT. It has been very much at the heart of decisions that my government has made over the last three years. As everybody here knows, we expend on service delivery at a rate way above the national average. If I can trust my memory, I believe that, in the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics and Commonwealth Grants Commission’s determinations on this, we continue to expend at 122 per cent. That is my memory; I will just have to check that number.

Mr Mulcahy: That’s what you’ve said. But that’s what I’m asking you.

MR STANHOPE: I said 122—was it? That was my memory, I have not received contrary advice. That is the latest data available to the ACT government from the Grants Commission and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. We expend at 122 per cent; that is, at 22 per cent above the base. That is the highest level of expenditure on government services in Australia.

Mr Mulcahy: And are you including local government functions?

MR STANHOPE: Yes—I will have to check that. But, yes, the essential equation is expenditure level, or rate, 122 per cent; revenue effort, or rate, 105 per cent. And that is the disconnect. Prior to decisions that this government took over the last three years, we were expending at over 130 per cent. We are bringing it down and continue to bring it down.

But there is the question of efficiencies—with a two-tiered government, with a city state—and efficiencies of scale. We deliver those. It is because of the efficiencies inherent in the delivery of services—or of government within the Australian Capital

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