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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 194..


Mr Smyth: Yes.

MS GALLAGHER: Exactly. All of those matters are currently before the government as we work towards putting our budget together for next year. That will be the challenge. How do we do that? How do we look at protecting ourselves from situations like this? Can we protect ourselves from situations like this? Can our small budget be protected from what we are seeing globally? The immediate answer would be no. But are there other measures we can take and policy decisions we can make that will provide further protection in the future? At the same time, how do we provide the level of government services that our community expects and deserves without increasing rates and charges and without increasing taxes? I know this is very important to the Liberal opposition. How do we continue to invest when other people are not investing?

All of those questions are currently before the government, and I imagine they are currently before everyone in this Assembly as we work together in this new spirit of a collaborative Assembly to deliver what the people of Canberra deserve. They deserve a budget that is sustainable in the long term and they deserve a government and a parliament that invest to keep the community strong, and that is what we will be doing.

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Seselja?

MR SESELJA: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what microeconomic reforms will you use to support the broader policy framework that you will be implementing?

Mr Barr: When you guys support none.

Mr Smyth: That is witty.

Mr Seselja: She hasn't given us one.

MS GALLAGHER: I am not in a position to. I have been Treasurer for three weeks. We are in unprecedented times. I am taking advice, as every minister would, on what we need to do to ensure that over the long term our economy is protected, our budget is sustainable and the people of Canberra get the services they deserve. That is my answer to the question. It obviously has not answered the question to your satisfaction, but that is the answer today.

Government—policy

MS PORTER: My question is to the Chief Minister. The ACT government has played a leadership role in socially progressive policy making over recent years. Could the Chief Minister explain the advantages that flow to ordinary Canberrans from this approach?

MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Porter for the question. As all members of this place are aware, the ACT government has a strong commitment to socially progressive policy making. It is a commitment that flows in a direct line from our belief in the


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