Page 2520 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 6 August 2013

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MS PORTER: Treasurer, how important is it to ensure that the procurement decisions you are making are the best for the ACT going forward with this fairly uncertain future?

MR BARR: We have through a change in procurement policy sought to provide an incentive for local suppliers and for those larger national and international suppliers to government to support local small to medium-size enterprises by engaging them as part of their overall package around particular procurements. This loading within the procurement process will provide new opportunity for small and medium-size enterprises within the capital region, as defined by the South East Regional Organisation of Councils, to ensure that we are providing economic opportunities within our region through government procurement.

I think this is an important reform. It is consistent with our international trade obligations. It does not breach any free trade agreements but it certainly provides an opportunity for more ACT firms, particularly small and medium enterprises, to access ACT government procurement rounds. This will be to the benefit of the local economy and I am pleased to see that it has been warmly endorsed by a variety of business stakeholder organisations.


MS LAWDER: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, the budget anticipates an increase in the LDA dividend from $59.8 million in 2014-15 to $132.3 million in 2015-16, which is an increase of $72.5 million or 121 per cent. Given that the outlook for the market as a whole is that it is softening, what assumptions and measures did the government use to forecast this increase in dividend income?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Lawder for giving me the honour of answering her first question on her first sitting day.

Mr Smyth: You old softie!

Mr Coe: The worst of a bad lot.

MR BARR: You are too kind! In response to the member’s question, I would make a number of points. Firstly, over the forward estimates the government has an ambitious land release program. As I indicated in response to an earlier question, there are three residential development fronts—in Gungahlin, in west Belconnen and in the Molonglo valley. There is also a significant commercial and industrial land release program.

The assumptions that the government made were that population growth would continue at an above long-run average level, although softened somewhat from the 2.3 per cent that we are experiencing. It is interesting to note that each time we think the rate of population growth has reached its peak, it appears to in fact pick up speed. So we anticipated, at the time of framing the budget, that population growth would level off at about 1.7 per cent. It is now up to 2.3 per cent. So, if anything, some of the

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