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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 30 May 1995) . . Page.. 549 ..

This Government is committed to improving the quality of service being offered to the people of the ACT at less cost. Mr Speaker, I might say - I am sure that other Ministers would agree with this statement - that we will not leave any stone unturned in that exercise. We need to be finding ways of delivering the services of the ACT to the citizens of this Territory on a better, more cost-effective and cheaper basis. That is the only responsible course of action. We all know - I do not need to remind any people in this place - that, according to the Commonwealth Grants Commission, the ACT is significantly overfunded, by the standards of other States. We have three choices in that situation: We can do nothing and go down the gurgler; we can start to look at ways of dramatically increasing revenue in the Territory and raise more revenue; or we can look at ways of producing more cost-effective management of our existing resources.

Mr Wood: These are new words from you.

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Wood interjects about not liking the idea. I might remind members opposite that, in fact, there are significant parts of the management of Namadgi National Park which are already contracted out. Things like the shop and roadworks are contracted out. We are not embarking on a new concept. Mr Speaker, let me make it clear that, if members in this place say to me or members of the Government, “We will not look at particular options”, that is fine. They have the power to do that. They can knock off anything on our agenda that they want to. That is up to them. But, ultimately, it is our responsibility to advance and put in the public arena ideas which may benefit the citizens of this Territory. If we produce an idea which is not worth pursuing, fine; we cop the flak for that at a political level in this place and in the broader community. But give us the right at least to work up an idea to the stage where it can be presented to stakeholders and we can say, “What about this idea?”. That, surely, is responsible government.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Osborne, did you have a supplementary question?

MR OSBORNE: I would be happy if Mr Humphries had answered one of the questions that I asked, Mr Speaker. Would you like me to read them again, Gary?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, Mr Osborne is not satisfied, obviously. The fact of the matter is that this is an idea which has been floated on a number of occasions. I am sure that Mr Wood has seen the idea before as well. It is not a new idea.

Mr Moore: Yes; he rejected it out of hand, as any sensible person would.

MR HUMPHRIES: Yes, he probably rejected it out of hand: “No, no; ideology says that we cannot do that. Throw it in the bin”. I am at least saying, “Let us have a look at it”. If I come back with an idea that you think is a crock of poo, then you can do what you do with a crock of poo.

Mr Moore: Flush it.

MR HUMPHRIES: You can flush it. That is your option. Mr Speaker, it is my job, as a Minister in this Government, to look at ways in which we can do things better, and I will keep doing that.

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