Page 5539 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 17 November 2010

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ACT budget. Over the four years the commonwealth GST payments as outlined in their MYEFO decreased in the order of $2 billion. When we look at how this applies to the ACT, overall our Treasury estimates that we will lose around $62 million across the budget and forward estimates based on our own relativity assumptions. Whilst the MYEFO suggests a loss to the territory of $31 million, ACT Treasury, using its own parameters, estimates the impact to be more in the order of $62 million, and this information of course will be included in the budget update which will be presented to the Assembly in February next year.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Hargreaves?

MR HARGREAVES: Treasurer, what is the government going to do about the lost GST revenue?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves. Obviously, the reduction in GST revenue will impact across our forward estimates. It will be roughly in the order of $15 million a year over the forward estimates period.

We allowed, through our budget plan, for flexibility in terms of economic updates as they come in over that four-year period. Our budget plan was originally a seven-year plan. We have revised that back to a five-year plan and we are currently in the second year of that.

Obviously, these are decisions that we will have to consider in terms of what we do next year in the budget. It does make our budget task a little harder but we expect that the flexibility that is allowed in our budget—the fact that we have allowed for growth in our budget, the fact that our budget does allow a slow and measured approach to returning to surplus after the financial shock to the budget from the GST—will allow us to respond in a very measured and responsible way and not in a way that creates sharp decreases or cuts to service provision across the ACT.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, a supplementary question?

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, will you rule out cuts to services as a result of the MYEFO?

MS GALLAGHER: No, I cannot, and I think Mr Smyth knows that. That is why he asks that. If he was in my shoes, he would be answering this the same way.

Mr Hanson: I’m sure you wouldn’t have had these problems if he were in your shoes.

MS GALLAGHER: I see. If Mr Smyth was Treasurer, we would not have had the global financial crisis.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

Members interjecting—

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