Page 261 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 10 December 2008

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health performance indicators. This is an important matter, and I commend the motion to the house.

Question put:

That Mrs Dunne’s motion be agreed to.

The Assembly voted—

Ayes 6

Noes 11

Mr Coe

Mr Barr

Ms Hunter

Mr Doszpot

Ms Bresnan

Ms Le Couteur

Mrs Dunne

Ms Burch

Ms Porter

Mr Hanson

Mr Corbell

Mr Rattenbury

Mr Seselja

Ms Gallagher

Mr Stanhope

Mr Smyth

Mr Hargreaves

Question so resolved in the negative.

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (5.56): Let me say at the outset that the Greens oppose this motion. It is disingenuous of Mr Smyth to suggest that there were warnings about the economic climate in which we now find ourselves which the ACT should have heeded previously in the 2008-09 budget. Most of the world has been caught out by what has happened, and the ACT unfortunately has been caught out as well. Indeed, it is hard to believe that any government that had seen this crisis coming would not have taken urgent and drastic action to insulate our budget from the effects of the global economic crisis.

Very few people really saw the global economic crisis coming in advance. Those that did and articulated their opinion were dismissed by most people as misguided and disconnected from reality. Many within the Greens were among those voices in the wilderness, and I do not remember anyone from the Liberal Party making similar criticisms of the global economic system and warning of a market collapse caused by the weight of speculation and inadequately secured debt.

The impact of the economic crisis on the ACT economy is, in many ways, outside the control of the government. Property and land sales around the country are falling, just as they are in the ACT. With respect to the contribution to the ACT’s economy which relies on stamp duty, if land value decreases, so do land tax and rates and revenue. So with falling property sales, we will see a decrease in revenue. This is not something that could have been prevented. The portion of our budget that is funded by GST collected by the federal government is also outside the control of the ACT government. The projected fall in revenue from the GST is not something that is a result of any lack of foresight on the part of the government.

I would like to take issue with the motion’s statement that “the lack of appropriate action by the Stanhope government will probably lead to the ACT budget moving into deficit during 2008-09”. It seems clear to me that many fairly conventional economists of high profile, such as Chris Richardson from Access Economics, have been arguing quite emphatically that it is appropriate for governments in

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