Page 2813 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013

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The government acknowledges the findings of the Centre for International Economics report. I would like particularly to highlight the following findings. In relation to the territory’s economic forecasts, I note the centre concludes that the forecasts appear reasonable, including that gross state product, state final demand and employment growth forecasts are considered reasonable, inflation and wage price index forecasts are satisfactory, and the forecasts are justified by key risks to public sector employment and commonwealth government expenditure in particular.

The centre highlighted the significance of taxation reform, which it considered would lead to a more sustainable revenue base in the long run. Specifically, the centre considers that the tax reform package is being undertaken at a moderate pace which enables the government to progressively phase out certain taxes while maintaining strong growth in own-source revenue.

However, the centre’s conclusion that the taxation reform package delivers an overall increase in taxation revenue is inconsistent with the revenue neutrality of the government’s taxation reforms. The centre’s analysis appears to assume that all movement in each revenue line is solely due to taxation reform, whereas many other non-taxation-reform factors, such as wage price indexation, also contribute to revenue growth.

It is also considered that the capital works program remains strong and is stimulatory to workforce participation and indicates that there is workforce supply to help meet demand.

Finally, it notes that each of the savings included in the 2013-14 budget are relatively conservative when compared with the previous year’s budget. These findings are a testament to our principle of responsible financial management practices.

The government notes that Dr Bourke and Mr Gentleman have provided a dissenting report containing 575 recommendations, in addition to the estimates committee’s report provided by the chair of the committee, which contains 151. The government recognises that committee members have the right to provide additional information or a dissenting report if they so choose. In this particular instance, the government notes that the need for the dissenting report has been driven by the partisan and uncooperative chairing of the committee, and observes Dr Bourke’s and Mr Gentleman’s concerns regarding the chair’s conduct of the committee and the chair’s failure to observe parliamentary procedural arrangements. Matters of bullying raised by Dr Bourke and Mr Gentleman are indeed disturbing.

The government has not responded to each individual recommendation of the dissenting report. However, we have provided a broad response to it.

Mr Coe: A point of order.

MADAM SPEAKER: A point of order, Mr Coe.

Mr Coe: Madam Speaker, I refer to the Treasurer’s comments when he spoke about the chair’s bullying and other misconduct, and I ask for your consideration as to whether that is appropriate.

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