The 2012-13 Budget is about supporting the ACT economy and ensuring our community continues to enjoy the frontline services it expects and deserves.
This Budget is economically and socially responsible.
The Government is continuing its prudent fiscal management, with the Budget forecast to return to surplus in 2015-16, in line with the original Budget Plan developed in response to the global financial crisis.
The ACT’s economy and fiscal fundamentals are strong. However, we are facing contracting Commonwealth expenditure, a moderating economy, softening revenues, and increasing cost pressures.
As a consequence there has been a deterioration in the budget bottom line.
However, we will not respond in a knee-jerk manner by slash and burn budgeting.
There is greater need at this time to support the economy, employment and frontline services for the community.
This Budget boosts funding in priority areas, namely health, education, emergency services, community safety, and support for vulnerable households.
New recurrent initiatives are fully offset by savings over the forward estimates, and the Government is making responsible savings and driving public sector efficiency.
In this Budget the Government is starting a long-term reform of the Territory’s taxation system, to make taxes fairer, simpler and more efficient.
The first five-year plan included in this Budget abolishes and reforms a number of inefficient taxes in favour of more efficient, simpler and more progressive taxes. The plan includes targeted assistance measures to support households.
The taxation reform plan is broadly revenue neutral – it’s not about raising the overall amount of tax the Government receives.
The Budget signals the confidence we have in our economy and our labour force. It helps create the right conditions for the private sector to grow, innovate and create jobs.
The Budget commits to further major investment in the territory’s infrastructure. The more than $900 million of capital spending in 2012-13 will support confidence and growth in our economy.
With its investment in frontline services and support for the private sector, this Budget will ensure the ACT community is well placed to prosper into our city’s second century.
Andrew Barr MLA