Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 4 Hansard (8 April) . . Page.. 1106..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
We, of course, did not pursue that course. We steadied the ACT ship. We generated significant savings and efficiencies. Built into our bottom line are $100 million or thereabouts of efficiencies that we have driven through the ACT public service, which has strengthened our economy and our balance sheet through a period of significant economic growth to the point where we now have a capacity to weather some of the shocks that emerge from time to time and confront governments, such as rapidly increasing demand for health services and such as a slowing of an economy as a direct result of the reckless mismanagement of the national economy by a national government.
So what we have done over time is secure the position of our budget, our bottom line. We now have a capacity to respond to the challenges which will emerge as a result of a slowing of the economy as a result of the steps which the federal government feels it needs to take to ensure that inflation is kept under control—the great Liberal Party legacy which the entirety of the Australian nation is now paying a very significant price for.
Australian Defence Force Academy
MRS DUNNE: My question is to the Chief Minister. I refer to reports in the Australian Financial Review of April 2004 that the federal government was seriously considering axing ADFA, which has 600 students and employs hundreds of staff. What actions, if any, have you taken to go into bat for ADFA, its students and its staff?
MR STANHOPE: I have made regular representations to senior members of the federal government, including the Prime Minister, the Treasurer, the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Home Affairs, in relation to the need to ensure that any steps which the federal government takes to deal with the very unpalatable legacy that they inherited from the Howard-Costello government does not involve a disproportionate impact or effect on the ACT or the people of Canberra.
I might say that the ease and the level of access which this government accords to me and to my ministerial colleagues within the ACT and, indeed, to other governments around Australia is in marked contrast to the level of access the previous government provided. It is now possible for me, as the Chief Minister and the head of government of the ACT, to actually meet regularly and without any particular fanfare with my federal colleagues. I think that is precisely and exactly the experience of all of my ministerial colleagues, in stark contrast, of course, to the attitude of the previous government.
I have said before that I sought no fewer than, I think, four specific meetings with the previous Prime Minister to discuss the centenary of Canberra. The Prime Minister refused every single one of my requests for a meeting. The invitation for two of those meetings actually was facilitated by the ACT Liberal senator, Gary Humphries. One was sought using the good offices of the previous Chief Minister of the ACT, Mrs Carnell. Neither of them could get an appointment for us either. I think it provides some relevance to questions about what I have done about the level of access