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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (2 May) . . Page.. 1349..


MR SMYTH: The dilemma here, as always, is that the ACT has two planning authorities. That land is NCA land and any construction there would have to go ahead with NCA approval. I am willing to look at and take up with the NCA whether it is an option to improve the walking track around the edge of the lake.

Social capital

MR HIRD: My question is to the Treasurer, Mr Humphries. I refer to claims by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and shadow Treasurer, Mr Quinlan, in today's Canberra Times about the implementation of social capital initiatives outlined in the budget. Can the Treasurer advise the parliament of the responses of the community to initiatives on social justice, education, health and the police?

MR HUMPHRIES: Indeed I can. It is the view of the ACT government and, I think, the view of other people that we have made provision in this budget for social justice-I think we can use that phrase as much as we can use the phrase "social capital"-in respect of initiatives in the area of welfare, health, education and the creation of jobs. The important point about our initiatives in those areas is that we perceive that these things operate on a range of levels; that you do not simply attend to somebody's unattended cavity, for example, and assume that you have dealt with a range of problems that that person might be experiencing; and that, if there are underlying social problems, you address underlying causes.

I believe that that is the approach we have taken in this budget; hence, the level of integration that we have seen in this budget between a range of initiatives in a way which has not been the case in ACT budgets in the past, budgets either of our creation or of anybody else. Fundamentally important to that approach is the sense of using this budget to create jobs. The best antidote to a range of problems stemming from a lack of income is to provide an appropriately paid job to a person. Therefore, we see the creation of jobs, a central plank of our budgets for six years, as continuing in this budget. Indeed, it is very much manifested in measures such as the $240 million capital works program which is a central feature of this budget.

Today, Mr Quinlan described as piecemeal particular initiatives in particular areas. I note that Mr Quinlan used that phrase about the initiatives in the budget being piecemeal before the budget itself had been presented. That is interesting because, although some initiatives were put on the table before the budget itself was tabled yesterday, the majority of them were put on the table yesterday at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. At that time they were put on the table as part of the budget. It is hard to know how Mr Quinlan divined somehow before the budget was presented that the initiatives contained in it were not going to be related to one another; they were going to be piecemeal, as he put it. It sounds to me like he had a line worked out before the budget arrived and it was convenient to use that line irrespective of what the budget actually said.

I quote from the Canberra Times:

Even if the amounts are often small, these initiatives are commendable. Things like spending on people about to be released from jail or early intervention in child development or disease prevention are not going to sound in immediate budgetary


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