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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 14 Hansard (22 November) . . Page.. 4411..


MR SMYTH (continuing):

committee process. Committees in this place have a good reputation for conducting hearings and taking evidence in camera and making decisions. The committees could still be included in the process where detail needs to be kept secret.

By any measure, what the Chief Minister is attempting to do here today with this repeal bill is not a major enhancement of the openness of the ACT intergovernmental relations. It is a major backward step. It is moving back to pre-1996. It is moving backwards from the signature of Rosemary Follett and others who had aspirations, when they tabled that report, that we would actually have a better system in which the legislature has primacy over the executive and where the executive does need to be responsible.

Instead of a major enhancement, we have less openness, less accountability and less honesty by a Chief Minister who said we should not be afraid of majority government but who is using majority government to have his way. In this case he is weakening the position of the ACT Assembly. Mr Speaker, at the conclusion of the in-principle debate, I will be moving that this bill go to a committee. I hope that people see the sense of that. In terms of the process of law making in the ACT, if we vote in favour of this bill today, we will have abrogated our responsibilities.

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.31 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Budget-outlook

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Minister for Health. As we now know, the budget is under pressure and departments have been asked to find productivity dividends of between three and five per cent. There are a number of election commitments still outstanding. Ten million dollars for a new psychiatric services unit; $5.3 million to modernise the ICU at Calvary, plus $1 million of recurrent funding per annum; and $15 million for a surgical centre of excellence are among the promises.

These commitments are unfunded and are unlikely to be funded in the 2006-07 budget. Minister, why did you mislead the people of Canberra by making health promises that you could not possibly deliver on?

MR CORBELL: I didn't.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, what services will be cut to meet the ACT health department's three to five per cent productivity dividend?

MR CORBELL: As I am sure Mr Smyth is aware, no decision has been made in relation to any further efficiency savings that would be required of agencies. ACT Health, as with all government departments, will put forward options for government


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