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Tuesday, 7 May 1985
Page: 1414


Senator TATE —My question is directed to the Minister for Finance. He will be aware of continuing controversy surrounding the release of the Forward Estimates of expenditure by the Government. Will the Minister clearly indicate whether the Government intends to release those Forward Estimates and, if so, when?


Senator WALSH —I thought that Senator Chaney might have asked this question but since he did not ask it I did not answer it. The Forward Estimates will be published tomorrow afternoon. The $1 billion to which I referred in my earlier answer will be a reduction in outlays as against the Forward Estimates. The statement will go into considerable detail.


Senator Walters —It will not be much use to anyone.


Senator WALSH —I doubt whether it will be much use to Senator Walters, because I doubt whether she is conceptually capable of understanding what $1 billion is, but it is important to be precise with these terms. Forward Estimates, in this context, is a very precise term. It refers to a document which was printed and bound in the Department of Finance four or five months ago. The announcements which will be made next week will specify a total sum in excess of $1 billion in reductions from the Forward Estimates published at that time, using the same parameters as were used in compiling the Forward Estimates.