Page 193 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 December 2008
Members will be aware that yesterday we adopted new temporary orders for the remainder of the Seventh Assembly, two of which relate to question time. The first amendment is to standing order 118. It requires that answers to questions must be directly relevant to the subject matter of the question. Accordingly, where I believe that an answer is straying into areas that were not directly relevant to the subject matter of the question, I will remind the member or minister answering the question to come back to the subject matter of the question.
The second amendment also relates to standing order 118. It allows members who believe that a response given to a question was in the form of a ministerial statement to seek my leave to respond to the statement at the conclusion of question time for a maximum of five minutes.
I seek the cooperation of all members in ensuring that the new rules are able to work as smoothly as possible.
Questions without notice
MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, yesterday in your statement to the Assembly you said:
Going forward, we will underpin our budget policy with a focus on the sustainability of high quality services and fiscal discipline.
In the same statement you also said that the ACT:
… will be affected by rapid changes in global share markets and problems with credit markets as they impact on the national economy and trickle down to the ACT.
Treasurer, what macroeconomic policies will you implement to deal with these important issues?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. These are the challenging issues that present themselves to me as the new Treasurer. There is no doubt that when we put together the budget of last year we were operating in very different circumstances than we are operating in now. If we look at things such as the Reserve Bank interest rate changes, I think there has been a three per cent reduction this year in interest rates. That has a very significant affect on our budget and we are expecting further interest rate reductions which will continue to affect our budget.
When you look at how the Australian share index has performed over the last 12 months, nobody could see the depths to which the share market fell, even in the last couple of months. If we look at what is happening across the world, across all the share markets and affecting all the OECD countries, again you will see results that have not been seen before. They are unprecedented. They are the challenges that face the ACT government and, more broadly, face the Assembly. How do we deal with them?