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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 6 (4 May) . . Page.. 1780..


Budget-public service

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Chief Minister. I understand that, at the Business Council's ACT budget breakfast this morning, the opposition Treasury spokesman made certain statements about the value of the public service. Can the Chief Minister explain how these statements contrast with the government's support of the public service, particularly through its continued budgetary provision for pay rises for our nurses, teachers, firefighters and other public servants/

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Gentleman. It is a very important question. Today, at the budget breakfast, of course, we saw the first inkling from the Liberal Party of the sort of budget that they, if in government, would bring down. It was the first opportunity that the people of Canberra had to test what sort of treasurer Mr Mulcahy would be, if he were still to be shadow Treasurer at the next election.

It was important that there be some insight. We are all expecting, of course, that tomorrow, in the budget reply, we will have an alternative budget on the table across all the issues that have been raised today in question time by members of the opposition and that they will be giving us their response to each of the issues that they have raised at question time today and in relation to which they have a particular interest. We will see that tomorrow, in the detailed budget response

the alternative budget. That, of course, is what tomorrow is about-in reply, the alternative budget.

We will see on the table tomorrow, by 4 o'clock, the Liberal Party's alternative budget, the budget they would have delivered on Tuesday of this week had they been in government. It is interesting. We wait, of course, with some anticipation for that alternative budget to be delivered tomorrow.

But there were some signals this morning of what we might expect. In relation to the public service and public service funding, the unequivocal statement made by the shadow Treasurer was that the Liberal Party would cut $100 million from the health budget. The statement was made, replete with an overhead, straight from Mr Mulcahy's speech-which, I am sure, he is more than happy to table or release-to verify the statement. Mr Mulcahy said this morning, for all the world to hear, that in relation to the health budget, as delivered, the funding provided in the budget delivered by the Treasurer on Tuesday of this week is excessive to the tune of at least $100 million. There is the first indication of what we can expect in the alternative budget tomorrow-a $100 million cut to the health budget.

Mr Smyth: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: Mr Mulcahy did not say that this morning. If the Chief Minister can prove it, then he should put it on the table. Otherwise, he is misleading the Assembly.

MR SPEAKER: Withdraw that.

Mr Smyth: I withdraw, Mr Speaker.

MR STANHOPE: The second of the issues that give some indication of the sort of budget-in-response that we can expect tomorrow goes to the issue of the public service.


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