Page 67 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 15 February 2011

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As a vigilant opposition, we will continue to monitor closely the performance of this Treasurer. I repeat that the Treasurer should correct her misrepresentations of the nature of the revised budget outcome. We will continue to question her closely about her performance in this critical portfolio.

It is interesting, in the time remaining, that the Treasurer does in fact fess up to some of this in her speech. On page 2 she does say that the variations to the budget estimates are technically driven. Again, that is not something that she has control over. She goes on to say that taxation revenues associated with property activity are forecast to improve marginally, underpinned by the continuing strength of the market. This just illustrates, again, that this is a government that is a one-trick pony. All it has is land and the profits from land upon which to base its success.

If we continue to have this narrow view, if we continue to rise simply on this one stream, we may encounter difficulties into the future. It is interesting to note that the Property Council has pointed out that the estimates from land revenue are wildly inaccurate—something like an average of $245 million a year—and this is something we have said for years. We have pointed out as well that you cannot rely on the estimates from this government.

The Treasurer goes on to say that we have a strong record in delivering capital works. It is on page 12, I think, of the budget review. This is only a half-year result, remember? Already we see reprofiling, which is code for delay, to the tune of something like five per cent of the expected spend. The minister actually says that this first half-year is the best half-year result for the past 10 years, which of course is a sad reflection on all of her ministerial colleagues, both present and previous, in their inability to deliver the capital works tasks that they have put in front of them.

The minister goes on to say—and again there is acknowledgement—that there is no doubt that substantial risk to the budget remains and there is still a significant task ahead of us to move the budget back into surplus. That is true. That is something we have said. It worries me—and again referring to yesterday’s Canberra Times—that the minister thinks it may give them the ability to relax the efficiency dividends and it gives us some flexibility around our savings. There are still unallocated savings, but already we are relaxing the dividend and looking for flexibility. With those sorts of statements you have to question whether the Treasurer is committed to the task and is up to the task.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Financial Management Act—instruments

Papers and statement by minister

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations): For the information of members, I present the following papers:

Financial Management Act—

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