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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 June 1995) . . Page.. 870 ..


She has also skated over the efforts that have been made, for instance, to bring organisations like the ACTION bus service to a better financial status. The fact that there was a $10m reduction in the amount that the ACTION bus service costs the taxpayers of the Territory is very much to their credit. I do not admire anybody in politics who cannot give credit where credit is due. The changes that occurred in ACTION and the changes that occurred in the administration reflect enormous credit on the management and the staff of those organisations, and I expect them to get that credit.

Mr Speaker, Mrs Carnell has completely skated over all of those matters. In this hollow and meaningless document, she has again mouthed the rhetoric of “streamlining”, “rationalisation”, “lean and mean”, “focused”, “sharp”, and all the rest of it. Given the complete lack of any other evidence, the only thing that that can mean is a reduction in jobs. So, Mr Speaker, you might ask yourself: If Mrs Carnell is reducing the number of departments, has she reduced the number of department heads? No, she has not. She has replaced three departments with one department, but she has kept both department heads of the replaced departments. I find that an extraordinary way to do things and then to claim that you are streamlining them. I can only presume from what Mrs Carnell has offered us that there will be the usual Liberal ideological slash-and-burn mentality and that we will see a reduction of jobs lower down the line, since clearly there is no intention to reduce them at the top, and the contracting out of additional government services. Indeed, Mrs Carnell's rhetoric has always indicated that that was on her agenda.

Mr Speaker, I was also appalled to see that Mrs Carnell, in a single throwaway line, referred to the fact that she intends bringing health and education spending into line with national benchmarks.

Mrs Carnell: Eventually.

MS FOLLETT: Mrs Carnell now interjects, “Eventually”. Mr Speaker, I think she should have put in the speech “eventually”, because, if she were to do it in the timeframe that this document apparently refers to, we would see an enormous reduction in the health and education services to this Territory. Mr Speaker, I regard that statement by Mrs Carnell as an absolute sham. This document, I presume, is intended to be implemented over the three years of the Government's term, by way of three-year rolling budgets. I make no secret of the fact that I had been planning for three-year budgets, and I have no doubt that Mrs Carnell is now getting the benefit of some of the documents which I myself have seen.

Mr Speaker, overall, I find this a totally unconvincing document. Obviously, we have not had time to look at the detail of the portfolio groupings, but it does occur to me that there are some departments that are answering to three different Ministers, and vice versa. I do not know how well that is going to work, but it is about as confusing as everything else that Mrs Carnell does. As I said, I believe that the Government has the right to organise the administration as it sees fit. However, on the document that we have


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