Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004-2005 Week 1 Hansard (9 December) . . Page.. 251..
DR FOSKEY: My question is directed to the Chief Minister in the absence of the Treasurer. Ordinarily at this time of year departments are in the process of developing their budget bids, and the community sector is responding to a government invitation to provide budget submissions. Last year the deadline for budget submissions from the community sector was 3 December.
We understand, however, that the community has not yet been advised of the process for providing input into the 2005-06 budget. Would the minister inform the Assembly of government plans and timelines for community input into the coming budget deliberations?
MR STANHOPE: I regret that I do not know precisely what steps the Treasurer may have taken to date in relation to advice to the Canberra community, or the community sector in particular, in relation to formal budget consultation. So I cannot answer that part of the question specifically. I am more than happy to take advice today from the Treasurer's office as to whether he has taken any action to date and whether any formal invitation has been made to or communication had with the community sector.
On my behalf and on behalf of each of my ministers, I say that we each stand ready to receive representations not just from the community sector but also from all parts and sectors of the Canberra community and, indeed, all individuals in relation to their views-the priorities as they see them-attitudes and hopes for this government's first budget.
In the recent election campaign, the government made quite clear and explicit what our priorities were. We were elected on the basis of those promises, our record and our commitment to continue with the work that we initiated in the previous Assembly. The government has made certain undertakings to the Canberra community. We have been returned to government on the basis of those undertakings and those promises. They represent our priorities and our view of the future. We, the government, will be very much guided by those promises and those commitments. They will be very much the focus of the government's deliberations in the budget cabinet process.
We are very willing and stand ready to consult and meet with representative organisations from throughout the community in relation to the budget and the priorities as the community sees them.
DR FOSKEY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. The Chief Minister may have to take this one on notice to Mr Quinlan's staff as well, but it is important that I ask it. If the community sector is not invited to make submissions until early next year, is the government able to take its views and ideas into account when the budget development process will be so far along and more difficult to implement?
MR SPEAKER: It is a hypothetical supplementary question.
MR STANHOPE: I understand the thrust of the question though, Mr Speaker, and I am more than happy to respond to it. I think it is possible for me to respond now on behalf of