Page 2881 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013
If he fails to do so then it is a perfectly reasonable deduction for us to make that when you look at the budget and extrapolate the budget, and when you look at Quinlan, as we were told to do, there is one conclusion—that is, rates are tripling, and based on the budget they will be tripling in just over 11 years. The recommendation of the committee was:
… that the Budget not be passed because of its lack of delivery, high levels of deficit and deceitful plan to massively increase commercial and residential rates.
We canvassed the issue earlier today about the lack of information and the deceptive nature of the budget, but the substantive issue that we are talking about now is the fact that it is just a bad budget. It is a bad budget in terms of its debt, in terms of its delivery, and in terms of the reforms that it is putting in, which are not going to have a good impact on Canberra households.
I look forward to hearing from Mr Smyth, who will have more to say, but we will not be supporting this part of the budget.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.50): The Treasurer started his budget speech proclaiming the following:
The first Budget of this parliamentary term is focussed on building a stronger economy and creating opportunity and fairness for all Canberrans.
Yes, but what we very quickly uncovered was that it was in fact a budget of deceit, of debt and of a lack of delivery. You only have to look at the borrowings. They increased from $2.7 billion to $3.5 billion with an interest payment bill of $655 million. You only have to go back to the financial reports last year from the Auditor-General to see that the threat to the ACT was borrowings. Yet what is this government doing? It is borrowing. Given what Mr Corbell has said in the last week about capital metro—that even if Infrastructure Australia does not fund it, they will build it—that means more borrowings. This is a government of big borrowings.
The deficit is over $340 million, although we see today in the interim consolidated financials it is now about $280 million. I do note what the Treasurer says about the volatility of some of that. We will look for the audited results at the end of September. But I do note on a quick read of it that the flow-on effect of the ICRC decision on ACTEW is yet to come here in this quarter with potential impairment of assets. So again we have doubt.
What we do know, though, is that revenue will grow by approximately $250 million per year and the budget will be $1 billion more at the end of the outyears. So this is another big-taxing Labor government. ACT Labor will still spend $668 million in excess of this over the next four years. Therein lies the problem. Simply, they spend more than they earn.
The budget foresees $142.6 million in cuts to jobs and services. Remember that none were flagged in the election. We had the typical scare campaigns that Mr Hanson has