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The ACT’s record budget surplus

By johnboy 15 August 2006 20

With the Government announcing tough medicine for all those it doesn’t consider priorities (as opposed to bus-ways saving 2 minutes off a 14 minute trip), the Canberra Times has a story on the budget bottom line:

The ACT Government reaped a surplus of $176.2 million last financial year, the largest ever recorded.

Tough medicine is still needed however to build a “rock-solid foundation for the future”.

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The ACT’s record budget surplus
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DT 10:37 am 16 Aug 06

Caf, according to the ACT Govt’s budget papers, we’re the last.

caf 9:53 am 16 Aug 06

DT, I thought we were one of the first jurisdictions to abandon AAS?

DT 9:43 am 16 Aug 06

Markus, I had read the hard copy article. You’d have to admit the headline, and the “shock result” angle is misleading. Plus, although you allude to the reality behind the numbers in the 7th par, you don’t explain it properly until the 11th. And even then you don’t point out the significance of the different accounting systems.

In reality, there is no story – it’s simply that according to one inadequate accounting system you get a large surplus, but according to a more realistic one you get a deficit. Not as sexy as “schools closing, rates up – but record surplus!”

vg 8:56 pm 15 Aug 06

That makes about a $266M turnaround by my estimates, being as they originally projected a $90M debt.

I would like to get a hold of Standope’s accountant next year for my tax return.

What a sham

roccon 6:25 pm 15 Aug 06

Shouldn’t profits on superannuation be ploughed back into making the ACTGOV super liability sustainable in the long term ??

Ari 3:39 pm 15 Aug 06

You’re back just in time, Kerces, Markus is visiting … time to get nude!

Markus 3:38 pm 15 Aug 06

DT, the article that appeared on the web site was cropped. The issues you raised were reported in the newspaper.

Thumper 2:53 pm 15 Aug 06

The UN would be perfect.

Geneva, he can talk as much as wants and everyone will laud him, but nothing will ever get done…


barking toad 2:50 pm 15 Aug 06

Probably old tricks like capitalising current expenditure and treating capital receipts as current income to produce a surplus on paper.

Just wish he’d piss off and join the BBC or the UN where he could bleat about his social issues to like minded bleeding hearts instead of using the mayoral platform whilst fucking up the local economy.

Kerces 2:15 pm 15 Aug 06

DT is right about the accounting systems. The old one also counts the one-off lump sums such as from land sales (which obviously can’t be earned again in future years) in the surplus. I feel certain there was a press release with the budget pack explaining about this and that we came in with a big surplus this year under the old system but either only just deficit or only just surplus under the new one.

(Hi I’m back…)

snahon 1:54 pm 15 Aug 06

Why on earth would they have ever included things like super gains as profit for budgeting purposes ? Who thought of that one way back when…

DT 1:39 pm 15 Aug 06

I’m no economist, but this surplus is calculated on the basis of the old Australian Accounting Standards, which the ACT Government is no longer using after this budget. The problem with AAS is that it includes such things as stock market gains on superannuation investments in calculating operating revenues.

So if super does well, even though you can’t access it, it records a surplus. Under the new standards, used everywhere else in Australia (Government Financial Statistics), you get a much clearer view of what the financial situation really is.

A complicated issue which is hard to explain in a news article, but bad reporting from Mannheim.

LG 1:34 pm 15 Aug 06

minor point – Hiroshima and Nagasaki weren’t ‘scorched earth’ policies.

The Russian retreat against the Germans in WW2 was though

Mr Evil 12:29 pm 15 Aug 06

“to build a “rock-solid foundation for the future””.

Yep, a scorched earth policy usually leaves a rock solid foundation to rebuild on for the future: it certainly worked for Hiroshima and Nagasaki!

Yay, thank you Mr Stanhope!

nyssa76 12:04 pm 15 Aug 06

Just remember that this is the same government that has stated that they don’t have any money.

What a load of shit.

Perhaps now they can get rid of paid parking at the hospitals, bitching about the teachers EBA, rate rises and stop trying to shaft communities by closing schools.

snahon 11:51 am 15 Aug 06

I guess the emabssies really won’t pay now, since the gov can’t whine they have no money and need it.

bonfire 11:48 am 15 Aug 06

Of coure now there is a surplus, I can expect next years rates to decrease.

Thumper 11:43 am 15 Aug 06

Makes sense….

Jazz 11:36 am 15 Aug 06

the answer to those questions is obvious Thumper. its all so we can report a record surplus

Thumper 10:20 am 15 Aug 06

Then why did my rates go up 50 odd % and I have to pay an extra emergency services levy?

And, if we are now so flush, why are schools being closed? Why do we have pay parking at hospitals?

Methinks some more creative accounting is coming to the fore.

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