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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 6 Hansard (5 June) . . Page.. 1879..


Let us return to Mr Barr's mortgage analogy. This budget's debt is not just like having a mortgage, as he claimed. It is more like having a mortgage that you cannot afford and do not want to have because you had no say in it. In simple truth, this government spends and spends and spends, and Canberrans yet again end up footing the bill.

It is interesting, when you look at their documents, Madam Assistant Speaker, that there is this miraculous recovery in the 2014-15 year. It is a fantastic chart. It suddenly goes ballistic. It goes up, up, up at a gradient that would be almost impossible to determine. Suddenly, after 13 years of spending, the government are going to find restraint. It is interesting when you look at how they bring back that difference in the coming year. It is simply on the back of the fact that they stopped spending—or so the Treasurer would have you believe. This year the spending has increased by $272 million, but next year—indeed, probably the year when a majority of the job cuts from the federal government will occur, the legacy of the Rudd-Gillard governments—the increase in spending is only $36 million. It is miraculous!

The following year it goes up by $176 million and the year after it goes up by another $172 million. I cannot wait for next year's budget and I cannot wait for the Treasurer to deliver this budget with increased growth of only $36 million. It is not going to happen. It has never happened because these people cannot constrain their spending.

We also have the problem that we need to look at what is happening to business. It was only yesterday that the Frontier Centre for Public Policy released its entrepreneurial index results comparing state, territory and provincial government business policies in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Overall the ACT government's policies were ranked last among jurisdictions in Australia and last among those three countries of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. So much for a government looking after business.

The centre's key considerations included whether government policy would encourage or diminish the capacity for individuals to start up businesses. Let us take a few moments to see what the Treasurer has by way of directly supporting local businesses in this budget. Indeed, other analysis by SmartCompany and other websites have said there was not very much in this budget for business in the ACT.

He has $300,000 to help young people get advice to start their own businesses, $150,000 for target advice for small businesses and $150,000 for advice to help public servants transition into the private sector and start their own businesses. That is not a great deal, Madam Assistant Speaker. If you look further into the budget papers you will see that these initiatives are only for one year. Read the program descriptions further and what you see is that these programs are limited to advisory services. Why not just announce a $600,000 package for consultants? This is the Treasurer's perverse take on the ACT being a knowledge economy.

Yes, he talks about the $2.8 million CBR innovation network over four years, but this is from existing money, not new, and one would wonder what has had to give way to fund this initiative. The rest of the $4.4 million does not go directly to local businesses. Also, let us not forget this government's underspend of approximately $500,000 for


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