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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 7 Hansard (21 June) . . Page.. 2058..

MS PORTER (continuing):

government has committed substantial resources to making Canberra a better place to live.

The government has also committed to sustainable resource use, including the recycling of water; to circle sentencing and a new prison; and to revitalising the City West precinct. On top of this, this budget allows additional resources to combat domestic violence in the ACT and to improve facilitation of family friendly workplaces.

I will now turn my attention to the report that has been produced. As has been indicated by previous speakers, the report made 12 recommendations for government consideration, with the majority of these designed to improve the efficiency of the budget process and increase the readability of the budget itself.

In the main, I support the recommendations that have been made and eagerly await the impending action on each of the highlighted areas. However, there are a couple of things I would like to disagree with. Firstly, I oppose the inclusion of clause 4.8, which refers to a growth in resources for the communications unit in the Chief Minister's Department. I do not believe—and this assertion has been made by other committee members—that sufficient evidence was provided to support this. Whilst perhaps only a minor matter, I believe it is important to ensure that accuracy is maintained in a review process as important as this and that we should look at sufficient evidence before we make these assertions.

Secondly, in regard to clause 10.8 of the report, which refers to the convening of the Non-government Schools Education Council, it is my opinion that the minister accurately outlined the reasons why this group could not meet prior to the budget process. I believe that, given the circumstances, the minister met her obligations under section 76 of the Education Act.

This is a reasonable budget that ensures the long-term economic viability of the territory and at the same time delivers the essential services and infrastructure that Canberrans have been asking for. I think any criticism of the way this process was conducted certainly falls at the feet of those opposite. As I pointed out, Liberal members of the committee took up 57.26 per cent of the time. In fact, Mr Mulcahy's questioning and answers took up 273 pages or 25.1 per cent of the transcripts. So we can see that they had a fair whack of the time. I must say that from time to time—in fact, quite frequently—they made the process extremely difficult.

I appreciate the comments that were made in this place this morning by Dr Foskey. I do say that she has probably got it right as far as the gender balance is concerned. Mr Quinlan also got it right on 3 May. This budget is financially responsible and socially responsive, and for these reasons I strongly recommend that the Assembly support the report of the Select Committee on Estimates into the Appropriation Bill 2005-2006.

Question put:

That the debate be adjourned.

The Assembly voted—

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