Page 1896 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 5 May 2009

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MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, why is the ACT Insurance Authority using out-of-date performance indicators?

MS GALLAGHER: I am not sure that it is but I will check with the detail of the question. It is a pretty specific question; I just do not have that level of detail in front of me. I will get back to you.

Council of Australian Governments

MS BURCH: My question is to the Chief Minister. Can the Chief Minister provide us with an update from the Council of Australian Governments meeting in Hobart last week and any impacts on the ACT?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I thank Ms Burch for the question. I am sure members know that last week both the Treasurer and I, along with other first ministers and treasurers, joined the Prime Minister and federal Treasurer in Hobart for a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments.

COAG continues to be an effective forum for decisions on key national issues and for fostering unified commitments to support Australians during these uncertain economic times. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to briefly outline, for the information of members, some of the key outcomes from last week’s COAG meeting.

As you would expect, the global financial crisis and the latest economic data was a key discussion point at the COAG. Both the Prime Minister and the federal Treasurer briefed COAG. In particular, the federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, provided an update on the national and international economic situations, and quite clearly the outlook shows no sign of improving in the short term.

The ACT Treasurer and I also spoke to treasurers from all other jurisdictions about the economic picture across their states and the Northern Territory. Like us, every other jurisdiction in Australia is wrestling with shrinking GST revenues, rising unemployment and a gloomy outlook for at least the next 12 months. It is against that backdrop that collectively we have all been framing, I am sure, the most challenging budgets in the history of the Australian federation.

Certainly one of the most sobering messages coming out of the COAG is that no Australian jurisdiction is immune from the impact of this global crisis. Indeed, I think it is probably fair comment that at this point the ACT is performing as well as, if not better than, other jurisdictions around Australia.

In light of the Victorian bushfires and the Queensland floods early this year, COAG considered a range of issues in relation to our responses to natural disasters and agreed to pursue a national telephone early warning system for emergencies. It has also endorsed work being done by our officials for consideration by COAG later in the year on national arrangements for responding to national disasters.

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