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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 3 Hansard (8 March) . . Page.. 703..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Tasmania, Lend Lease Design Group, McCann Property and Planning, the University of Melbourne, Natural Resource Intelligence, Purdon Associates, Research and Design International, Robert Peck von Hartel Trethowan, Ways and Means Consultancy and WordsWorth Writing.

DR FOSKEY: I have a supplementary question. Given that, did the business case for revegetation of the Cotter catchment consider whether a decision on replanting should wait until decisions on the potential use of the catchment for increased water supply had been made?

MR STANHOPE: I have already indicated that, regrettably, I am not aware of the question previously asked by Dr Foskey of the Treasurer, and I was not involved in the preparation of the response. I have neither detailed advice nor have I had briefings on the business case-in fact, I did not have knowledge of the existence of the business case. I will take the question on notice. By way of background, the Cotter catchment covers an extensive area and, even if the ACT government were to accept a recommendation in relation to the construction of a dam on the Cotter-in fact, an enhanced Cotter dam-it would not cover the entire Cotter catchment area. It is an enormous area of land. No new dam at the Cotter is going to cover the thousands of hectares that are incorporated within the Cotter catchment. It is an enormous piece of land and we are not going to build a dam that covers a tenth of the ACT.

Budget strategy

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Acting Treasurer. I refer to recent media reports, which have been quoted and since repeated, blaming increased interest rates and a softening in the housing market as the basis for a predicted tough ACT budget. Given that a softening in the ACT housing market this year was already factored into your last budget and given that as recently as last Thursday your Treasurer made similar confirmations, what has prompted your newly announced budget strategy forecasting either significant tax increases or major cuts in services?

MR STANHOPE: I do not recall saying there would be significant increases in taxes. I think that is a verbal. That is a porky. That is what we call it, do we? I never at any stage said that there would be significant increases in taxes. Mr Mulcahy has just made that up. He did not make up the claim that he does not support the recent pay rises granted to the public service, but he has just made up that I said there would be significant tax rises. There will not be, and I never said it. But Mr Mulcahy did say that he does not support pay rises for ACT public servants. And we need to remember that. Mr Mulcahy's and the Liberal Party's response to budgetary issues facing the territory is to ensure that public servants get no pay rises.

Mr Mulcahy: A real wage decrease under the Labor Party.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, exactly right, a real decrease in conditions as a legacy of the Liberal Party in government. The ACT public service will not forget that for a while.

I have made the point, as I explained before, that, in a situation where there is a lessening in the strength of the national economy and a downturn in residential sales, any good government interested in good governance will tighten its belt. That was the statement


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