Debates Day 3 - Thursday 1 May 2003
Parliamentary Record 11
Debates for 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 9th Assembly 2001 - 2005
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES - Thursday 1 May 2003 SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT Mr HENDERSON (Leader of Government Business): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, I move that the Assembly adjourn until Tuesday 27 May 2003 at 10 am or such other time and or date that may be set by Madam Speaker pursuant to sessional order. Motion agreed to. MOTION Note paper - Auditor-Generals Report - Analysis of 2001-02 Treasurers Annual Financial Statement Continued from 29 April 2003. Mr STIRLING (Treasurer): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, I would like to respond to the Auditor-Generals report on the 2001-02 Treasurers Annual Financial Statement. The 2001-02 Treasurers Annual Financial Report was tabled in parliament in the November 2002 sittings. The report now tabled by Madam Speaker on behalf of the Auditor-General provides additional commentary on the Treasurers Annual Financial Report in regard to the format, outcome and analysis contained within the Treasurers Annual Financial Report. Before I go to the specifics of the report, I am pleased to say that this report, the first on the Martin governments first year of financial results, is very positive and strongly supports the fiscally responsible initiatives implemented by this government. I turn to specific comments in the report. The overview states that the number of varying formats within the Treasurers Annual Financial Report make the results difficult to interpret; clearly no different to previous years where there have been various formats to meet a variety of purposes. In 2001-02, this variety of reporting formats was required to meet the Territorys many reporting obligations including those under the Financial Management Act, the Fiscal Integrity and Transparency Act and the uniform presentation framework requirements. From 2002-03, these obligations will be met through a single reporting format - accrual financial statements prepared on a government financed statistics basis. This format will be consistent with all the requirements I mentioned and the 2002-03 budget papers. The next section of the report discusses the nett debt figure reported in the Treasurers Annual Financial Report for 2001-02. The Auditor-General states that the nett debt should have been $ 17.7m higher due to the decrease in the value of the market equities held in the Conditions of Service Reserve. In an accrual environment, this statement would be correct. However, the 2001-02 accounts are prepared in a cash environment and, therefore, this revaluation was not brought to account. Under the accrual framework, revaluations of financial assets will be undertaken annually and the statement of financial position adjusted accordingly. Following on from this, the report states that the operating result for government business divisions excluded from general government - that is, public non-financial corporations such as PowerWater - should be included in the general government sector when these entities incur an operating loss. That would be inappropriate and not in accordance with uniform presentation requirements to determine the general governments scope based on the profitability, or otherwise, of public non-financial corporations. However, it is planned to examine these coiporations during 2003-04 to determine if their financial structure is appropriate. The Auditor-Generals report includes measures of the Territorys fiscal performance additional to those included in the governments fiscal strategy. In the 2002-03 budget, a new fiscal strategy, as required by the Fiscal Integrity and Transparency Act, was adopted. The strategy has been described by external commentators as being among the better fiscal strategies adopted by governments. While the Auditor-Generals suggested measures of sustainability, flexibility and vulnerability are implicit in the fiscal strategy, consideration will be given to using some of these comparisons in future analysis. The nett debt result for 2001-02 is discussed in the report, comparative to the result for 1998-99. The increase mentioned, I might say 40%, is a result of the requirement to fund the increasing deficits over that time, as well as the requirement in 2001-02 to meet the Territorys contribution to the capital cost of the railway. Nett debt will continue to rise while the Territoiys budget is in a deficit position, resulting in an increased debt burden and associated interest costs. It is one of the key reasons for this government adopting the deficit reduction strategy. The strategy was met for 2001-02, and it is expected that it will also be met in 2002-03. It is intended to continue to work towards a balanced budget by 2004-05. However, any further reduction in the Commonwealths funding, as seen as a result in change of the population estimates in February, could affect strategy targets. The report makes a comment on the recorded value of AustralAsia Rail Corporation, due to the likelihood of the asset transferring to the Asia Pacific 3985
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