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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 265..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

What we have here today is virtually nothing. There has been a glib statement about open and honest government. Yet the government's first action is to stop an evolving process that was giving the community a say in how their money was spent.

The Treasurer has said that the committees can do it if they want to. How is that for a commitment? If you want to talk to somebody, you can. There is no commitment to real consultation or engagement with the community. I think it is a shame. I think an opportunity has been lost here. Labor were critical that we did not have a good process. Yet at the first opportunity to improve the process or rebuild the process they were critical of, the Treasurer has stumbled.

What he has offered is just dross. He has offered nothing. All he saying is: "If you want something, we will think about giving it to you." I think the process we had was much better. I certainly think it was far more productive. I certainly think the people of the ACT will see this as a real indication of Jon Stanhope's commitment to openness. At the first hurdle, that commitment falls.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Appropriation Bill 2001-2002 (No 2)

Debate resumed from 11 December 2001, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (5.18): Mr Speaker, let me indicate at the outset that the opposition will support the second appropriation bill for 2001-02. There has been an increasing trend to use second and subsequent appropriations in recent years. It is my recollection that there were very few, if any, second appropriation bills before 1995. In fact, I cannot recall any before 1995. We decided in government that second appropriations were an important device to allow the Assembly to scrutinise the kinds of changes in spending priorities which occur in the life of a particular government. It is my recollection that in each of the years since second and third, even fourth, appropriation bills have been presented in this place. I think that it is a fundamental part of openness of government and I am pleased that the present government has taken that policy as well.

Mr Speaker, the measures for which funds are being appropriated in this bill fall into two categories, that is, measures which the former Liberal government promised to fund and measures which the present Labor government has promised to fund. In almost every case the funding was promised prior to the last election and, therefore, they are matters which are being delivered upon, even on the part of the former government, because of things that the present government said it would pick up from the former government. So, to that extent, the bill represents a measure towards providing for some continuity and for ensuring that the promises that are made to the community are actually honoured.

The bill funds things such as support for Kendell and Hazelton airlines to ensure that they have flights to Canberra, the establishment of a knowledge bank and a knowledge board, the funding of an economic white paper, and the funding of the nurses' EBA and cost pressures at the Canberra Hospital. Mr Speaker, those measures are supported by the Liberal opposition.


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