Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 6 Hansard (6 June) . . Page.. 1529..
MR GENTLEMAN (continuing):
I would like to congratulate some of the winning teams from the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship—Cody Crocker with Ben Atkinson; Katsu Taguchi and Mark Stacey; and Dean Herridge and Bill Hayes—and the Australian Rally Championship side—Simon and Sue Evans; Neal Bates and Coral Taylor; and Spencer Lowndes and Chris Randell.
I look forward, as I do every year, to the next rally, Rally of Canberra 2008, and a new era of motor sport in the ACT.
Environment—water treatment plants
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (6.16): Earlier today we were enthralled to hear a new approach to ACT economics by extrapolating our surplus figure to that of the federal government. Mr Stanhope said, "If you took that and quoted it to the federal government, we would be seen in most spectacular terms."We did the mathematics. Fortunately, I have got somebody in my office who has just finished a PhD on statistics and who loves numbers. I said, "Look, just do a bit of work for me on this, will you?"He said that if you had an alleged surplus—I think members know my views about the application of that surplus—of $103 million for the ACT government, and that was deemed as equivalent to a surplus of $9 billion for the federal government, then, by the same multiplier, which is 87.37864—I will say it slowly for the benefit of Mr Gentleman: 87.37864—the $9 million in spending by the ACT government for the army of 22 policy advisers would, at the federal level, be equivalent to $786.4 million in federal government spending.
If we want to take on board Mr Stanhope's view about how wonderful his surplus is, we have to apply the same principle to the team of advisers he is putting around, which in federal terms equates to an outlay of three-quarters of a billion dollars. I know the federal government spends a bit too much sometimes, but I do not think that John Howard, Peter Costello or even Kevin Rudd would be game to make that sort of outlay. Before we go down this road of federal equivalency, we need to think very carefully about what we are walking ourselves into.
I turn to another matter. The other night I spoke briefly on my visit to Singapore to look at water treatment plants, but I ran out of time. The Chief Minister talked on that issue today. It was an interesting experience to examine these plants, though after some days of looking at recycling plants and desalination plants I think I have had my quota of exposure for some time. But whatever you think about the approach to opposition and the like in Singapore—which is in itself an interesting debate—one has to give credit to the fact that the people in that country are very competent at getting things done and very careful about looking after the health of their population. I was left with absolutely no doubt in my mind that the systems in place in their water supply are safe. They are going to be substantially increasing the use of recycled water in their water supply over the next four years.
As I mentioned earlier, I had the benefit of a specialist on waste water, who is continuing to examine issues for me, at no cost. She was very impressed. She went