Page 950 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 29 March 2011

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to seeking to ensure that children at Bimberi receive the full care that they deserve, but these are incredibly difficult children.

They are children that come into care as the result of high levels of trauma with incredibly difficult and complex issues across the full spectrum—substance abuse, mental illness, sexual abuse and physical and emotional abuse. These are incredibly difficult children in the main. Some of them exhibit those behaviours. Many of them are violent. Many of them are incredibly violent. They are very difficult to handle. We should not be politicising this issue and seeking to make political capital out of these children. (Time expired.)

Government—credit rating

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer advise the Assembly of the importance of the ACT government maintaining a AAA credit rating?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Hargreaves for the question. Members will recall that, on 16 March this year, Standard and Poor’s rating services not only affirmed the ACT’s credit rating as the highest but also rated the ACT’s outlook as stable. Once again—and members will be aware this is one of the key priority objectives outlined in the budget each year—we retain our AAA credit rating and we have set that as a target for ourselves in terms of our budget plan.

I did notice the distinct lack of interest, I have to say, from the shadow treasurer in the release of the report. In fact, I could not believe that Mr Smyth had nothing to say, because occasionally he does have something nice to say. But I went to the Canberra Liberals’ website and nothing! Actually, nothing since 14 February! Nothing at all on the economy or the performance of the budget for quite a while!

Mr Smyth: I am pleased you are so interested.

MS GALLAGHER: I always take interest in you, Mr Smyth—a professional interest of course—and your writings, your musings. I did not want any rumours to start, so I thought I had better clear that up right now. Clearly, it is a very professional interest, particularly in your writings as they are published on the Canberra Liberals’ website. That is where I have my most intense interest.

This is a good result for the ACT. It is obviously such a good result that the Liberals were not able to spin it any other way. It is important for us as we move forward and deliver the major infrastructure projects that this city needs that we retain a rating like that.

I think at the meetings I have had with Standard and Poor’s they have been very keen to understand the government’s budget management strategy and, indeed, I met with Standard and Poor’s for several hours in the lead-up to their putting this ratings report together. I would say that there was some very positive commentary in their report about the government’s management of the budget situation post the global financial crisis. Indeed, I think they draw attention to the fact that they believe the government

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