Page 1082 - Week 03 - Thursday, 26 February 2009

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The global financial crisis and the slowdown of the Australian economy understandably present uncertainty and this package provides some vital confidence and certainty to the industry,

Treasurer, in order for the third appropriation to have the desired impact of providing confidence to, and financial impact on, the economy, what is the deadline for the appropriation to be expended and what will be the impact if the government is not able to deliver its capital works projects on time?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The allocation of funds is outlined in the appropriation bill. It is spread over two years and we are hoping that the Assembly will pass the appropriation in the first sitting week in March. That is the timetable that we are working towards.

We have gone through a very close examination of the projects that were funded in this year’s third appropriation to make sure they were project ready, that agencies are ready to get the work out the door, that it fits the framework that we established for the third appropriation—which was a criteria of around six elements, from memory—that it not put a drain on the ACT budget and worsen our budgetary situation, that it go straight to the areas where identified gaps have been emerging, that it is project ready, that it supports employment—and I just cannot recall the final element, but there were six.

That was the criteria. The main focus for me in talking to other ministers’ offices was that the work is ready to go and that we make sure that this work is ready to go, that it supports those businesses that it is targeted to and that it supports jobs and maintains employment in the territory.

That is the timetable. We are absolutely focused on meeting it. More than ever before, we are acutely aware of the need to deliver our capital works on time and on budget.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, a supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what analysis has been done of the outcomes if you do not deliver on time and on budget?

MS GALLAGHER: We are focused, actually, on delivering on time and on budget. That is the focus. The third appropriation is targeted to a very small base. You can see from the projects outlined that they are relatively small projects, ready to go. The focus very much is on delivering this.

The opposition, of course, can take the negative view. There is the opportunity, of course, here for the opposition to embrace the third appropriation, perhaps even—dare I say it—to welcome it. Do not give me any congratulations. I would not expect that. But perhaps there could be just a little bit of acceptance that this is actually the right thing to do, that if Mr Smyth—God forbid!—was Treasurer, he might be thinking something along these lines as well.

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