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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1997 Week 2 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 388..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

previous governments did and pretending that the ACT can go on living outside its means. Obviously, we still have to get down to State-like funding over the next few years. That is why we will be using this additional funding for initiatives designed to broaden our economic base and reduce the ACT's reliance on Commonwealth funding.

Mr Speaker, the Grants Commission also recommended a $200,000 increase in the allocation to the ACT for special fiscal needs and adjusted the ACT's per capita relativity slightly, with the effect of reducing the ACT's share of general grants by $1.4m. I am still interested that those opposite want to interject on something that is good news for the ACT. Possibly, the reason for that is that those opposite told us we were wasting our time. Mr Whitecross indicated that there was absolutely no show that this approach would - - -

Ms McRae: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I would like to know whether the Chief Minister advised the Independents that she would be making a ministerial statement and that is why they are not listening.

MRS CARNELL: Sit down. That is not a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Ms McRae: Mr Speaker, when are you going to rule on what is the difference between a ministerial statement and an answer to a question? This is a ministerial statement.

MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I would have thought those opposite would have been interested to know as soon as possible of something that is very important to this Assembly. The fact is that those opposite do not want any good news. All they want to do is run down the ACT. This is $15m worth of new money to the ACT over the next two years. Mr Speaker, I believe that is good news for the Territory, even if those opposite do not.

Ambulance Service

MR WOOD: Mr Speaker, my question is to Mr Humphries as Minister for Emergency Services. Minister, can you confirm that in the 1995-96 budget half-a-million dollars was appropriated by the Assembly for that and subsequent years for a fifth ambulance to operate from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm and that an additional $180,000 was appropriated in the 1996-97 budget to allow the fifth ambulance to go full time from 1 October 1996? Can you confirm that from 1 January 1997 ACT car owners have been paying $15 for the so-called road rescue levy, which will raise about $1.4m in a full year - nearly twice as much as the full accrual cost of the fifth ambulance? Minister, when will the ACT community actually get the full-time fifth ambulance that we are already paying for?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, it is a pity Mr Wood did not ask that question before he put out his very misconceived press release of yesterday. First of all, let me just put into context the irony of members of the Labor Party asking a question about the fifth ambulance. People should remember that in 1991, when still in opposition, those opposite said, "We desperately need a fifth ambulance in this Territory; it has

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