Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 6 Hansard (7 May) . . Page.. 2113..
Mr Smyth (continuing):
Ms Le Couteur
Question so resolved in the affirmative, with the concurrence of an absolute majority.
MR SMYTH: I thank colleagues, and I will be brief. I would like to comment on one other specific matter—that is, the library in Canberra's south. We had this brilliant decision by the Stanhope-Gallagher government to close the library in this area when in every other jurisdiction around the world they are building more libraries. Chicago have stopped building youth centres and police stations; their first preference is to build libraries. In the last decade they have built something like an extra 41 libraries. So what a brilliant decision! What pathetic consultation by Minister Hargreaves. What community outrage. Now we have an announcement that a new library facility will be put in Kingston. We commend this decision. We note that it is a decision that should not have ever been necessary. Presumably there has been spending incurred that could have been avoided in closing the former library and planning for a new library. It is another example of waste from the Stanhope-Gallagher government.
The root cause of many of the issues facing the ACT's budget is the narrowness of our economic base. As the Chief Minister himself said in April 2006, the ACT is now on its own, stuck with a narrower revenue base than most jurisdictions. What has happened since that statement in 2006? Well, yesterday the Treasurer ran up the white flag on economic development in the ACT to signify that she had no idea on how to diversify the ACT's economy. The Stanhope government have done nothing to diversify our economy in the last seven years. Indeed, as a percentage of employment, the number of people in the private sector has declined under Jon Stanhope's rule as minister for economic development. An outstanding achievement for the minister! All they do is procrastinate, as has been the case with so many projects, in particular, the new international-standard convention centre that Canberra deserves.
We set out a number of questions for the Treasurer to answer in this budget. We were looking for: a deficit reduction strategy, there is not one; a tax reform strategy, there is not one; an employment strategy, there is not one; a wages strategy, there is not one; a savings strategy, there is not one; a debt management strategy, there is not one; a cash management strategy—surprise, surprise—there is not one; a capital works management strategy, there is not one; a business encouragement strategy, there is not one; a business regulation strategy, there is not one; and a strategy for managing the superannuation provision account, there is not one. We looked hard, but we found none of these.
This is a Treasurer who told the ACT community that the whole budget is estimates and guesses, and yesterday proved it. Her approach to this critical portfolio and to the