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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 4 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1110..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

One of the fundamentally sensible ways you can do that is by releasing this report. Do not hide behind cabinet-in-confidence. Release the report. It was provided out of the public purse. It was probably a sensible thing to do. Prepare the community and get ideas from the community. You are not going to get sensible ideas all the time. You will get some groups who will always want you to spend more money. But you might be pleasantly surprised if you release the report and take the community and the Assembly into the confidence of the government. We might get somewhere. You, as a majority government, might be able to make some significant changes that will assist the territory's situation in years to come, rather than hide behind cabinet-in-confidence and hide behind this particular report. You have said you have had it for a month. Mr Kaine did not have his for a month before he released it. There have been several others.

Mr Stanhope: How much of it did he implement, Bill?

MR STEFANIAK: He tried to introduce quite a bit of it and got stymied because he was in minority government.

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 12.26 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Budget—functional and structural review

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Chief Minister. In his functional review, Mr Costello has identified four primary areas for cuts. No 1 is health, No 2 is education, No 3 is business and tourism, and No 4 is the Emergency Services Authority. It has now been confirmed that your government faces a deficit of $190 million in the outyears and that the $190 million will only be achieved if $200 million in savings are made from health expenditure over the next few years.

Minister, how do you propose, once you have cut $200 million from health spending, to make the other savings required to bring the budget back into surplus? Can the ACT community expect equally savage cuts to education, business and tourism and emergency services?

MR STANHOPE: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. Let me say that in this place, in the lead-up to the delivery of the budget in four weeks time, I am not going to debate across the chamber initiatives that may or may not be included in the budget or decisions that may or may not be taken by the government in the context of the budget. I am certainly not going to engage in a game of ruling this in or ruling that out or confirming this or denying that.

The budget will be delivered on 6 June. In the context of developing the budget, the cabinet has, of course, been giving detailed consideration, as all cabinets do in the development of all budgets, to a whole range of issues. Indeed, it is, I have to say, quite


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