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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 6 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 2087..


Mr Barr: Well, we know their position on schools—good money after bad, isn't it, Vicki?

MR STANHOPE: We know their philosophy—good money after bad. That was reflected by a commitment by the Liberals in the last election to remove from the capital budget the capital upgrade program for schools—the $11 million rolling program to provide capital support for our schools. It was to be slashed; it was to be removed. No more capital upgrades for schools under the Liberal Party.

Of course, in that context there is no vision. We note this morning that Mr Seselja expresses a concern: of course, he has only had two days in which to prepare a Liberal Party view, response or strategy—not the seven months since the election. This is an admission that he has been asleep for seven months. This is it: "Oh, you have to understand, Mr Solly, we have only had two days to reflect on what we, the opposition, the alternative government, would do in the face of the global financial crisis. You have got to give us a break. It is seven months since the election but we really have only had two days to think about this."

Ms Gallagher: Brendan saw it in 2006.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, and Mr Smyth boasted yesterday that, in fact, he foresaw this in 2006. Mr Smyth has had three years. He foresaw the financial crisis. He foresaw the $200 million-odd deficit in 2006. He went to an election campaign then, of course, promising a couple of hundred million dollars of promises.

What we need to hear today, what we expect to hear today, what we expect to hear in five minutes is the alternative strategy. What savings will you make, how will you make them, in what time frame will you make them, will you consult or will you actually do as you are urging us to do—make the announcement now; do not consult; do not take the community into your confidence; just do it? This is the message of the Liberal Party today: no need for consultation, despite the rhetoric of the last three years around decisions and modus operandi for the government.

They are the issues that we wait to hear. What is the strategy; what are the cuts; where are the savings coming from; what is your time frame; who are you going to consult with; and how many jobs over and above those you have already promised to cut do you intend to cut? (Time expired.)

Taxation—utilities

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, I refer to a report in the Canberra Times of 1 May 2009 in which a spokeswoman from your office is quoted as saying, "New South Wales and Victoria have a utilities network facilities tax and there was nothing to indicate the tax made the ACT less competitive."

Treasurer, I draw your attention to paragraph 3.1.5 of a comparison of major taxes in the ACT with taxes in New South Wales. It does not have a comparison of utilities tax. What evidence do you have that New South Wales and Victoria have a utilities


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