Page 3539 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 12 September 2017

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MS FITZHARRIS: According to the opposition, no: no businesses warranted any light rail infrastructure. No businesses in Canberra warranted investment in major transport infrastructure, according to the opposition. I will continue to have conversations. Clearly the government made a decision around the Mitchell stop which was important, and that was to future-proof a light rail stop.

MR COE: What other services will be offered for people in Mitchell if bus services to the city are no longer going to be in existence?

MS FITZHARRIS: The work to integrate the bus network with the light rail network is underway. I expect that broader community engagement on that issue will be able to start in the next couple of months and I look forward to having those conversations with the community and with stakeholders about accessibility of the Mitchell business precinct. I would note that currently public transport patronage to Mitchell is actually very low, and I can provide further data on that to the Assembly perhaps tomorrow after question time.

Economy—AAA credit rating

MS CODY: My question is to the Chief Minister. International ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has recently reaffirmed the territory’s AAA credit rating. What does having a AAA credit rating signify about our economy?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Cody for the question. For those who are not across the detail of a AAA credit rating, it is only assigned to an entity that has “extremely strong capacity to meet its financial commitments”. This is the highest possible credit rating assigned by international ratings agencies. S&P has had a look at the wide range of indicators in the territory budget, including our forward investment plans, our revenue-to-spending and debt-to-revenue ratios, and the steady path back to balance that we have held to for the last five budget updates. S&P’s decision to reaffirm the territory’s AAA credit rating, having reviewed our forward budget plans, confirms that we are effectively managing the territory’s budget. It also confirms that our borrowings are reasonable and manageable relative to our investment in city-building assets and infrastructure. It also reinforces that we have made sensible use of the territory’s balance sheet to keep Canberra’s economy growing to keep Canberrans in work during what have been challenging economic times. The S&P report makes it clear that the only real risk on the horizon for the ACT is the commonwealth government. The negative outlook on the ACT’s credit rating reflects the potential for a downgrade of the commonwealth’s rating, because no Australian state or territory can hold a credit rating higher than the Australian government. This would see, if the Australian government’s credit rating were downgraded, all states and territories downgraded with it. But we have experience of managing economic risks posed by Liberal governments, and we will continue to manage the territory budget in a manner that is consistent with this AAA rating.

Mrs Dunne: Madam Speaker, on a point of order, can I seek your guidance before we go to a supplementary question, please? Standing order 59 relates to anticipation of discussion. I know that over time we have significantly watered down this standing

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