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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 7 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 2864..


Reliance on an outdated transport network dependent on individual travel powered by fossil fuels is a system that will become a system of the past. It certainly will become more and more unaffordable to more and more people.

Building a new lane may make it a little better for a short while but it does not even touch the sides of the real issues and is often just throwing good money after bad. The new system that would make the biggest and most lasting changes is light rail.

We can build a light rail network that would dramatically change the way people get around Canberra. We cannot do it all in one budget but we can make a start and do a bit at a time instead of throwing money at solutions that we know for a fact will not work in the future. We can begin building a new transport network that will put us in good stead in the future. Just as it will take 20 years to change the tax system, so too will it take 20 years to change the transport system. But of course we will never get there if we never start.

The Greens, as I said, support the budget in principle. We agree with the fiscal position and with the majority of the specific initiatives contained in the budget. In fact the vast majority are entirely non-contentious and I am sure that, asked in isolation whether or not each party agreed, there would be unanimous support. However there certainly are items that we do not agree with that we think could be done better or where an opportunity is being missed.

I have said many times that the Greens are committed to stable government and we do not believe in jeopardising the delivery of basic government services—health services, education and public transport, for instance. We cannot jeopardise the delivery of basic government services that we all agree with and all depend upon. It is just not good governance and it would not be a good outcome. We will have the policy debate about our disagreements and the community will judge us on those views in the near future. In this parliament no-one gets everything they want and we all have to compromise; it is called minority government.

Budgets are not a magic pudding. They cannot deliver increased services and more infrastructure for less tax. What they can do though is distribute the resources of the community to ensure that not only is there continued economic prosperity but that we also have improved social equity and environmental sustainability.

Visitor

MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Before calling Mr Smyth, I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of a former member of the Legislative Assembly, Mr David Lamont. Welcome to the Assembly.

Appropriation Bill 2012-2013

Debate resumed.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.46): This budget is a fraud. It is a fraud visited upon the community, posing as tax reform.


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