Page 4340 - Week 12 - Tuesday, 13 October 2009

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MS GALLAGHER: All of those issues, Mr Smyth, are what the government has been working on, because this is a matter of great significance to the ACT budget. We take it very seriously. We have been working very hard on it. Officers in Treasury have been working very hard on it. And Mr Smyth, every two months, is putting out the same media release saying, “What’s going on?” or, “What’s the Treasurer not doing about the Commonwealth Grants Commission?” What a smart alec! And people see you for that, Mr Smyth. They don’t actually think you genuinely care about the work that is underway to protect the ACT budget, because, from where I have sat for the past year, you have not been a part of any of the discussions.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, according to commonwealth budget paper No 3 2009-10, the GST relativity used to determine what the ACT receives is 1.27051. I can give you the page number if you want. Treasurer, does this relativity indicate that the ACT government is more efficient or less efficient in providing services to the community than other state governments?

MS GALLAGHER: The draft report, as identified by Mr Smyth in some of his media releases, as I understand it, has the relativity for the ACT at 1.15—as I recall, from a briefing from Treasury. Perhaps I did, in the depths of my enormous brain, have that answer that I have just taken a little while to retrieve, but for the benefit of members I recall that under the draft report it is 1.15.

Mr Smyth: It is 1.27—the same as last year.

MS GALLAGHER: Well, you would have read the draft report, Mr Smyth, so no doubt you would have been fully aware of the answer that I have just given.

Mr Smyth: No, no, no—

MS GALLAGHER: You hadn’t got to that page in the draft report? The money that we believe is at stake under the draft report is in the order of $40 million to $50 million. I think Mr Smyth is just blindly accepting the New South Wales government’s $60 million. Within the portfolios of government there are a range of portfolios where we do better, where we are compensated through the Commonwealth Grants Commission process, and there are a range of areas where we lose. I would urge Mr Smyth to read the draft report and see how it applies to the ACT.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Seselja, a supplementary question?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, this figure has increased over the last few years. Does this increase indicate that, relative to other states and territories, the ACT government is steadily becoming less efficient?


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