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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 3 Hansard (25 February) . . Page.. 985..


MS GALLAGHER: Getting fixated on terms such as "stimulate"really is playing at the edges. I think the term "stimulate"in recent times has been used to describe government responses to the global financial crisis. When you look at the governments that have delivered stimulus packages, they have been national governments—those governments that have the national levers.

Perhaps early on I used the term "stimulus package"in the sense that I was saying we will be responding to our local economy with a local package. Nothing has changed.

Mr Hanson: She is rather confused.

MS GALLAGHER: I am not confused at all. I am frustrated at playing with an opposition that simply does not get it. That is my frustration—that we have got this juvenile, undergraduate response from the opposition that we presume is going to continue. I can tell you now. Nothing has changed with the package, despite my desire to clarify the intention of the package and despite my desire to get everybody to understand what we are trying to do here and the capacity that the ACT budget has.

We take this job very seriously. You can sit and laugh about my use of the word "stimulus"and we will get on with delivering the package that we need to deliver to our community, and that is to secure jobs, to look after local businesses and to make sure that in the next three four months, as we put together the budget proper, those businesses do not lay off staff because they are worried about their future.

That is the intention. That was the intention months ago when we first talked about it; it is the intention now. The size of the appropriation has not changed at all, I can tell you that. Again, with my hand on my heart: the size of the package remains the same. If everybody really wants us to call it a stimulus package, we can call it a stimulus package. That does not bother me at all.

Mr Smyth: But you are the one that has changed your mind. You have said it will not stimulate. You have said, "Don't hold your hopes up."

MS GALLAGHER: I was answering a question about our capacity to stimulate the ACT economy, and you know, Mr Smyth, the limitations of the ACT budget to do that. You know it. Sit there and make fun. If we as an Assembly want to call this a stimulus package, then let us call it a stimulus package. But let us not forget the intention of this package. The package is trying to keep businesses operating, to secure staff, to improve our own asset base and to deliver projects that are ready to go now with cash out the door. That is the aim of this package.

If you would like me to call it the local investment stimulus package and that makes you feel better, then we can call it that. We could even amend the bill when we are discussing it on the floor of the Assembly in March if that will calm your nerves and address your concerns. Despite what we call it, despite the nature of the package and what it is named, the aim of the package has always been clear.

Mr Hanson: What it will do is the point.


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