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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3924..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

They were out there negotiating five per cent a year for an entire workforce, funded to the tune of one per cent a year. We are talking here of tens of millions of dollars of unfunded salary, which we were left to find.

Before you start throwing around, again, this misconception, this misinformation, about the nature or the status of funding for the GDE, go back and just recall those initial estimates are Liberal Party estimates. At the time, I think Mr Smyth was the relevant minister. Go back to that budget and have a look at the Liberal Party's allocation for the GDE and, every time you raise this issue of funding for the GDE, just remember that the numbers we are talking about were provided by Brendan Smyth. They are Brendan Smyth's dodgy numbers—and they were incredibly dodgy—without foundation, and they were included in the budget just so they would have a surplus in their final budget before an election. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Burke?

MRS BURKE: Thank you, Chief Minister, for what that was worth. Will you now tell the people of Canberra when they can expect the GDE to be completed and what the final cost will be?

MR STANHOPE: We have made a position in relation to that. We have committed to the duplication of the GDE within the next Assembly if we are elected. It is a promise which we have made: we will duplicate the GDE. We can make that promise, and we can make that promise to an extent and a level which no other government has ever been able to do, because of the strength of our economy.

We do not have to put in dodgy numbers. We do not have to go out and just provide one per cent a year for foreshadowed EBAs in order to balance our budgets. We do not have to actually underfund or put completely dodgy numbers in a budget for major capital works such as the GDE because we know that, if we did not do it, we could not get our budget to balance.

The last Liberal Party budget before they lost government was a simple shonk. A simple shonk—that is what it was. The two stark examples of that are the one per cent allocation for pay rises and a completely dodgy assessment by Brendan Smyth of what it would cost to construct the GDE.

Economy

MS MacDONALD: Mr Speaker, this is my last question time. My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, how has the government's fiscal discipline supported the ACT economy, including the ongoing strong performance of the ACT labour market?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms MacDonald for her question. As we all know, the ACT is experiencing a period of sustained economic growth and prosperity. The last few years have seen renewed economic activity providing a foundation for increased confidence in the ACT. The most important facet of supporting a strong economy is to maintain fiscal discipline—something that this government can proudly boast. Not


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