Page 5455 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 16 November 2010

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MS GALLAGHER: I am pleased to present to the Assembly the 2009-10 consolidated annual financial statements for the territory. I am pleased to advise that the consolidated statements have received an unqualified opinion from the Auditor-General. The final 2009-10 headline net operating balance for the general government sector is a surplus of $147.9 million. This is a positive outcome for the territory, highlighting the government’s disciplined approach to management of the territory’s finances and a commitment to financial control across the sector.

Key financial indicators in the balance sheet indicate that net worth has grown to $15.4 billion, while net debt remains in a negative position, demonstrating that the territory’s GGS cash reserves and investments are greater than our gross debt liabilities.

The ACT continues to have one of the strongest balance sheets of any government in Australia. Combined with our fiscal strategy to strengthen our operating position and to manage debt prudently, there are strong grounds to indicate the territory can continue to meet its liabilities as and when they full due and continue to be assigned a AAA credit rating when Standard & Poor’s report on their 2010 review of the ACT. I know Mr Smyth will be eagerly awaiting that report—quietly confident, but eagerly awaiting it.

When the revenues from the commonwealth stimulus initiatives are excluded from the result, the underlying GGS net operating balance is, however, a deficit of $6.7 billion. The commonwealth stimulus packages have been very welcome. Their initiatives, as well as our own, have been essential to support jobs and maintain confidence in the economy. The positive impact of this is seen clearly in our economic performance.

Despite the improved result in 2009-10, we do need to be mindful as the challenges outlined in the 2010-11 budget remain. The budget remains in deficit, and we need to continue with our efforts and the objectives in the budget plan to get the budget back to surplus.

The headline net operating balance improved by $93.7 million compared to the 2009-10 estimated outcome. This improvement largely reflects a number of technical outcomes and adjustments which have occurred following the release of the budget. As previously outlined in the June interim report, these include: externally driven factors such as payments by the commonwealth for financial assistance grants brought forward to 2009-10 and those related to the sale of government goods and services; outcomes associated with the ongoing management of the territory’s liabilities for superannuation and insurance; transactional variances associated with the transfer of assets between the government agencies; improved revenue from the Land Development Agency; and higher dividends from Actew as a result of the ActewAGL joint venture activities.

Additionally, other technical variations have impacted on this result since the release of the interim report and include: variations associated with the revised discount factor impacts; increased depreciation expenses associated with the write-down of the Canberra hospital car park; and the recognition of make-good provisions for fit-outs

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