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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (4 June) . . Page.. 1729..


had the opportunity to diversify the revenue base in the territory, but they have failed and, as a result, we are going to see many more hard luck stories, of the kind that Ms Berry likes to often talk about here: families that are doing it tough, families that are struggling to pay their bills as a result of businesses closing. And that is purely as a result of this government's inept handling of the economy.

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (12.13): I welcome Mr Rattenbury's amendments. They re-emphasise the benefits of this budget in maintaining support for vulnerable groups in our economy which I spoke about this morning, and the amendments also stress the importance we place on the protection of the environment in developing the ACT budget. I especially welcome in my electorate the $872,000 allocated over four years to conserve an area in west Macgregor to offset the impact on the golden sun moth and natural temperate grassland of the Lawson south residential development. This funding will help the long-term condition and sustainability of natural temperate grassland and the golden sun moth population within the offset site.

A further $462,000 is provided over three years to extend the Gudgaderra grassland nature reserve by 21.6 hectares and the Mulangarri nature reserve by 22.8 hectares. Both reserves support striped legless lizard and golden sun moth habitats and will be used to offset the impact on these species from development at Exhibition Park in Canberra. I thank Mr Rattenbury for those amendments.

Concern for the vulnerable in our community and our environment was not just missing from the Liberals' federal budget but were the areas targeted for the most savage cuts. Constituents have been loud and clear to me in their hatred for the mean-spirited, short-sighted, incoherent federal budget. Parents are worried about having a job. They are worried about their children's schooling—will they be able to afford to study or go to university? What if they do not get a job and have no income for six months?

People nearing retirement are worried that the Liberals are breaking their promise of no change to pensions. Will their access to superannuation be changed? Will they live long enough to reach the pension age? Moreover, will they be able to work in a decent job as they get older and older?

People tell me that the co-payment for doctor visits will be another hit on the hip pocket when they least need it. The medical research fund this tax goes towards was not even mentioned to the federal scientific adviser, nor were the ignorant cuts to the CSIRO. These cuts will hit Canberra and the staff at Black Mountain very hard, but it also shows the lack of the federal Liberal government's vision. It seems to be a payback from climate deniers against the scientific community.

From the position of the Canberra Liberals, what can they say? They are caught in the headlights of this bitter pill of the federal budget with nowhere to go. But then we start to get a bit of clarity on their position from Mr Smyth—the number three, of course, in their line-up—and he was the acrobat of adjectives this morning. Personally, I was disappointed by his sloppy commentary on the ACT budget. It seems to me that he just does not get the big picture. Either he does not grasp the situation that has been imposed upon us by the federal budget or he really wants to have a turn at the wheel of the steamroller driven by Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott.


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