Page 2565 - Week 07 - Thursday, 18 June 2009

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what is the effect of the increased cost of funds on the ACT’s proposed borrowing program?

MS GALLAGHER: As Mr Seselja will be aware, the money that we have highlighted, the projected borrowings that we have highlighted, in the 2009-10 budget and the update to that budget are for around $550 million for borrowing due in about June 2011. The impacts of current rates of interest on borrowings are probably not as relevant as the situation will be when we need to actually embark on those borrowings.

We have factored in some costs for the borrowings. I am just looking for the exact figure. We did outline that in the budget papers—the recurrent impact of the cost of borrowing. I just do not have it at my fingertips, but I can certainly update the Assembly on that when I locate it in my papers.

What we will do when we move to borrow—we have indicated that the $550 million projected is at the upper limit of what we expect we will need to borrow—is look for the best borrowing interest rates that we can at that point in time. The fact that attention is drawn to it by Mr Harris in his analysis of the budget indicates that it is because of the strength of our position that we are able to see through the next couple of years without borrowings, but the decision we took in the budget was that we were not going to wind back our infrastructure program because of the global financial crisis. That in turn meant that we would need to seek some borrowings to deliver it. But we will not need to do that until June 2011. The actual cost of interest in June 2011 is uncertain. We have factored in some costs in our budget and we will revise those as we need to.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, are you considering any alternative strategies to gain access to funds for the territory’s infrastructure program, and if so what are they?

MS GALLAGHER: No, I am not currently considering any alternative strategies to fund the infrastructure program, but I have sought advice from Treasury around our borrowings and what advice they are going to give to government about where we look for those borrowings, whether they are long-term borrowings or short-term borrowings. That advice has not been given to me at this point in time, but that is not surprising considering the fact that the government will need to embark on this borrowing program in June 2011. The advice will be received well before then.

Land—blocks 9 and 11, National Circuit, Forrest

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Chief Minister and relates to the sale of the prime block of land on the corner of Canberra Avenue and National Circuit, Forrest, on 12 June 2009. Can the Chief Minister confirm that blocks 9 and 11 of National Circuit, Forrest, were auctioned recently as one lot, at a sale price of $11 million? In relation to the sale, can he confirm that the National Press Club of Australia and Canberra developer Nicex offered to purchase block 11 only for $16 million?

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