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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (30 May) . . Page.. 1179..


MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

around 11 per cent, with a forecast in the next 18 months of a profit increase of over 16 per cent.

The barometer shows that 48.6 per cent of businesses said the federal government's reforms would prompt them to hire more workers, and that only the shortage of qualified people is a constraint. Research also indicates there will be a softening of the employment market if the Labor Party wins government federally and repeals the unfair dismissal laws.

Labor federally and at state and territory level has resisted every key reform on which our current prosperity is based. Last year the Chief Minister described the federal budget as "generally superficial and expansionary". He went on to refer to "an additional $36 billion splashing around in people's pockets at a time when our greatest fear is rises in interest rates; we will drop all this additional cash onto the table and challenge people not to spend it".

But this year even Mr Stanhope has had to concede the budget was, in fact, good for Canberrans. He said that a couple of weeks ago. And so it is this year. Mr Stanhope could hardly contain his glee. He actually said he did not think a federal Labor government would have done much differently. Coming from him, could any praise have been higher, albeit deluded? Mr Stanhope actually got so carried away this year that he described the federal budget as "a good, attractive budget for the vast majority of Australians". He told the chamber of commerce here that spending on roads and national institutions in Canberra was welcome and there was no point squibbing about other aspects. That is positive from the Chief Minister—telling it like it is for a change.

However, this Chief Minister, like all Labor premiers around Australia, is made to look almost okay because of the spectacular success of the federal government. The strength of the Howard government's economic management is propping up the hopeless state and territory governments, amongst whom none is more hopeless than this particular government. I think the Liberal Party in Australia and the federal government can stand proud on an excellent record of good fiscal and economic management over a sustained period of 12 years that has benefited this territory immensely. (Time expired.)

MS MacDONALD (Brindabella) (12.09): As the Chief Minister has already said, this commonwealth budget will be good for Canberra and will benefit our economy. We need to make hay while the sun shines, but we also need to ensure that our finances are on a sustainable basis for the longer term. There are indeed a number of positives coming out of the federal budget, although it is clear that it has been framed with the looming national election in mind. Turning specifically to matters affecting the territory, I would point out that the Griffin legacy has been developed and now agreed by both the commonwealth government and us.

While a substantial amount of commonwealth money, approximately $72 million, has been set aside for developing roadworks in accordance with the legacy's plan, it concentrates on a single small patch of land; namely, the Russell end of Constitution Avenue and Parkes Way. There was the opportunity to develop the full sweep of land affected by the legacy all along Constitution Avenue, over City Hill and


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