Chief Minister and Treasurer’s Message
I am pleased to invite community members, businesses and local organisations to put forward their ideas for the 2016-17 ACT Budget.
Since becoming Chief Minister, I have been out in the community talking to Canberrans about the services they need and those they want my government to deliver. This feedback was an important part of the 2015-16 Budget, released in June 2015, and I now invite the community to have their say on where spending should be targeted and how government services can be improved as part of next year’s Budget.
The 2016-17 Budget will be developed in a time of ongoing economic challenge for the Territory. Our economy has shown itself to be resilient in responding to the Commonwealth Government’s significant cuts to spending and jobs, and the recently released June quarter economic data indicates that the ACT economy has now turned the corner and is recovering from those shocks. However, we continue to face challenges from constrained Commonwealth Government spending, previous job cuts and reductions in our GST share, and cuts to payments for education and health.
The ACT Government has a sustained record of responsible fiscal management and we are on track to return to surplus in
2018-19. That’s why, through the 2016-17 Budget, the Government will leverage off the ACT’s strong Budget position to stand up for Canberra. Over the next four years, we will continue the rollout of our record $2.8 billion infrastructure program, keeping our economy moving and safeguarding jobs for Canberrans. We will also continue to deliver the services Canberrans depend on, and ensure our local businesses are supported, including through the successful Business Development Strategy.
The work of the ACT Asbestos Response Taskforce will continue in 2016-17. The Asbestos Eradication Scheme is removing the legacy of Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos in our community, the full cost of which will be borne by the ACT Government. The Asset Recycling Initiative will have a positive impact on the community with the renewal of public housing in the ACT; this is part of the Government’s commitment to renew Canberra’s suburbs.
The Budget consultation process provides an important opportunity for the community to be involved in the budget process. Working together, we can ensure that limited resources are put to their most efficient use and identify where possible savings could be made. I am keen to learn how the Government’s current levels of service delivery meet the needs of Canberrans, and where refinements could be made, and I encourage Canberrans to share their views by filling out the online submission form or providing a written submission.
Andrew Barr MLA
ACT Chief Minister and Treasurer