Page 2854 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013
Questions without notice
MR HANSON: Treasurer, I refer to the ACT budget review 2013-14 prepared by the Centre for International Economics, which states:
Saving expectations are more conservative and less ambitious than they were in last years’ Budget, particularly in the outer years of the forward estimates period.
Almost half (46.6 per cent) are expected from general agency savings (effectively an efficiency dividend) …
It is difficult to assess the achievability of expected savings measures because of the lack of detail provided in the 2013-14 Budget.
Treasurer, why does the 2013-14 budget fail to provide sufficient detail of savings to allow the community to judge their achievability?
MR BARR: The savings have been removed from agency budgets, so the money has not been provided to them in the first instance. They have been achieved already in so much as those agencies will not be receiving appropriations at the levels that they may have anticipated in previous budgets.
In relation to the savings contained within this year’s budget, there are a number of initiatives that the government is ceasing. The government is seeking reforms particularly in the area of procurement, seeking efficiencies and savings in the purchasing of goods and services. We have also sought from various agencies some general savings. They will deliver those in accordance with the schedules outlined in this year’s budget.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Hanson.
MR HANSON: Treasurer, what confidence can the community have that the government will use savings to reduce the size of the deficit rather than simply fund more spending?
MR BARR: The government’s path to return the budget to balance and then to surplus involves a series of expenditure and revenue measures that are outlined in the budget papers.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Smyth.
MR SMYTH: Treasurer, what confidence can the community have that the budget will return to surplus, given the Labor Party’s poor track record in managing budgets and lack of detail in its savings measures?
MR BARR: Each year the government puts together a budget and a series of forward estimates based on the information available at that time. The government recognises