Page 80 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2012

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These results have been reflected in our revised budget estimates presented in the 2011-12 budget review that I will table shortly. The budget review provides a separate update of the territory’s economic and financial forecast. These results are broadly in line with what we expect the 2011-12 final outcome to be following the budget review.

The territory continues to maintain a strong balance sheet as reflected in a number of key indicators, such as net worth, net financial liabilities and net debt.

I commend the December quarterly report to the Assembly. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth) adjourned to a later date.

2011-2012 budget review

Paper and statement by minister

MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (3.43): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Budget 2011-2012—Budget review.

I ask leave to make a statement in relation to the paper.

Leave granted.

MR BARR: I present to the Assembly the 2011-12 budget review, prepared in accordance with the Financial Management Act 1996. Despite economic uncertainty right around the world and from which the ACT is not immune, I report to the Assembly that the territory economy is performing well. The ACT’s balance sheet remains very strong. We have low debt and a strong asset base. The fundamentals of the ACT economy and the government’s fiscal position remain strong. We are well placed to weather the economic turbulence affecting all levels of government worldwide. The forecast general government sector headline net operating balance for 2011-12 is a deficit of $181.3 million. The budget is on track to return to balance in 2013-14, and surplus in 2014-15. The balance sheet remains strong. The deficit is temporary, not structural.

It is important to note that the ACT is not unique. Other Australian jurisdictions have adjusted revenues downward and revised their budget positions since the release of the commonwealth midyear outlook, given revised GST projections as well as generally depressed economic sentiment—although not necessarily depressed activity. This has resulted from weaker property market conditions and the volatility in international financial markets weighing on consumer and business confidence. It is worth noting that this includes the resource-rich states of Western Australia and Queensland, both of which have revised down revenue in their midyear updates.

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