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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1993 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 18 August 1993) . . Page.. 2458 ..

MS FOLLETT: If you wish in only a totally lopsided, short-sighted and one-eyed way to look at the negatives, then this is exactly the sort of approach that you get, the approach from the Liberal colleagues opposite. It is not a legitimate way to look at the budget, Madam Speaker, and I would urge them to try to take a more positive approach and at least to applaud those issues which they feel they could support. If they cannot support increased funding for women's health, increased funding for palliative care, and increased funding for HIV and AIDS programs, they ought to come out and say so.


MRS GRASSBY: My question is to the Minister for Urban Services, a very capable minister. Can the Minister inform the Assembly of the progress in the reform of ACTION which he commenced in 1991?

MR CONNOLLY: The Opposition will not enjoy this because it is another example of this Government getting on with the job and cleaning up the mess left behind by the Liberals. Yesterday we heard extraordinary bleating from the current Liberal Treasury spokesperson, saying that the Government had somehow committed the mortal sin of not spending enough money; that we had, during a budget year, constantly rearranged our priorities in order to spend less money than was appropriated. This nonsense of the Opposition saying, "Government, you should be ashamed of yourself for not spending more ratepayers' money", just shows what a joke you rabble are.

Yesterday's statement by the Treasurer showed that ACTION had exceeded its budget target by some $340,000. We set ACTION a target to save $900,000 on its recurrent spending last year. It exceeded that by $340,000. We have brought ACTION recurrent spending down from a historic high of $54.7m under the - - -

Mr Kaine: That was the amount transferred by the Commonwealth, old chap. Don't you remember?

MR CONNOLLY: That was under the questionable competence of the then Treasurer and Chief Minister. The subsidy grew in your year of administration, to use the word loosely, and we have brought it down from $54.7m to about $51.5m, so we have got it down by some $3m. We are getting it down further. We have reduced staffing levels in ACTION from 1,091, a historic high under the incompetent administration of the Liberals, to 1,006 - an 8 per cent reduction. Mr De Domenico keeps ranting that ACTION is dramatically overstaffed; yet the findings of the review of government trading enterprises published a couple of days ago shows that ACTION has the second lowest number of employees per vehicle of metropolitan transit authorities in Australia - significantly below other States. So, Madam Speaker, on the level of - - -

Opposition members interjected.

Mrs Grassby: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Do you think you could keep the circus on the other side quiet so that the Minister does not have to yell so much, which I am getting in my ear, and so that we can hear the answer to the question?

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