Page 111 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 14 December 2016
use our budget, our investment decisions, as a tool to fuel economic growth, to support secure jobs in our economy and to respond to the various social and economic challenges that are before us.
I note that in his contribution Mr Coe completely overlooked the cost of the Mr Fluffy buyback and the borrowings the ACT government had to undertake in order to meet that significant expense. Yes, that is a significant factor in our debt levels. We borrowed a billion dollars from the commonwealth because they would contribute nothing to a problem that was created when they were running the territory. This government stepped up to address the issue. But, yes, we took on a billion dollars of debt in order to do that. But would you have done anything different? Are you saying today that you would not have borrowed that money to address this issue? I think from everything that transpired in the last four years the answer to that is they would have done exactly what the Labor government did.
So let us be clear about what our debt is and how we are paying it back, but also how, compared to all other jurisdictions, it is manageable and fits within the metric of a AAA credit-rated jurisdiction. Only the ACT, New South Wales and Victoria amongst the Australian states and territories hold the highest possible credit rating. So let us not have a Joe Hockey-style, Tony Abbott-style debt panic, when our debt levels are entirely manageable. I urge members to support my amendment. (Time expired.)
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.32): I wish to move my amendment to Mr Barr’s amendment:
Insert before paragraph (1):
“(1) notes, regarding the state of the Territory’s finances:
(a) over the last eight years, revenue has increased by 43 percent but expenses have increased by 61 percent;
(b) the operating balance in 2015-16 was a deficit of $373 million;
(c) the operating balance has been in deficit since 2011-12;
(d) the Territory was a net borrower of $631 million in 2015-16; and
(e) the Territory has been a net borrower since 2008-09;”.
Basically the amendment puts back Mr Coe’s first set of notes which Mr Barr’s amendment removes. As far as I am aware, all of the notes in Mr Coe’s amendment are statements of fact. They may not be statements of fact that Mr Barr wishes to hear, but that does not mean they are not statements of fact and reasonable for a motion.
If we are going to take the line that we are not going to have considerable notes at the beginning of motions, I would say we would have to take a red pen through most of the notice paper. I note the second motion, Ms Cody’s, has longer notes than Mr Coe’s, and Mr Parton’s also has a lot. Everyone has a considerable amount of notes. There are issues if the notes become excessive, but taking this notice paper as a