Page 1700 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

MR BARR: The most significant impact outside of the health funding reductions clearly is the level of GST revenue that will flow to the territory. As a result of the Commonwealth Grants Commission process and some adjustments the commonwealth have made to appease Western Australia, the ACT’s share of GST revenue, together with that of a number of other jurisdictions, takes a hit. It will have an impact on the territory budget, undoubtedly, as this is a major source of revenue that flows through our accounts.

On the positive side, there are some small adjustments upwards in national partnership funding that we were not anticipating continuing which have been kicked along for another couple of years. That is good to see. I particularly welcome the continuation of the early childhood education national partnership that will see the territory able to continue to offer 15 hours of early childhood education for at least another couple of years. That is a positive as well.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Chief Minister, how does this year’s commonwealth budget add to the impact on the ACT from the 2014-15 commonwealth budget?

MR BARR: It certainly goes to reinforce what the states and territories identified in last year’s budget as an $80 billion hole in health and education funding over the coming decade. That is an issue of serious concern. Premier Baird describes it as the biggest challenge facing his state and the nation. I agree. It is the biggest challenge facing state and territory governments. It is a big challenge for the ACT and it is a big challenge for the nation.

The health minister has outlined in some detail the impacts that this will have on the ACT health budget. It is very disappointing, but I cannot say I was surprised, because we do know the Liberal Party’s attitude to public health. We have seen it time and again. And it is reinforced by the denial of the Leader of the Opposition of this massive health funding cut and the continued denial of the Prime Minister and the Treasurer.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Chief Minister, what will be the government’s priorities in light of the impact of the commonwealth budget?

Mr Hanson interjecting—

MADAM SPEAKER: Order, Mr Hanson!

MR BARR: I thank Ms Porter for the question. The ACT government will again need to stimulate economic activity in the territory. So we will be focusing on areas of high growth potential for the ACT economy: higher education, our knowledge-based industries and ICT. The small business sector will also have a series of significant infrastructure investments that will stimulate the construction sector, particularly in housing and public transport.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video