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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1713..


Budget-community response

MR HARGREAVES

: My question is to the Treasurer. Would he advise the Assembly how the budget has been received in the community?

MR QUINLAN: It is my great pleasure to advise the Assembly, for those who might have missed these matters, of the reaction to the budget across the community. Let me start with ACTCOSS, who have given the budget an overall tick of approval, applauding us for providing for the SACS award increases. They also welcome the $2.4 million allocated to alleviating homelessness.

Mr Cornwell: Point of order, Mr Speaker. Don't you think the person who asks even a Dorothy Dix question should at least listen to the answer?

MR SPEAKER: The standing orders impose no obligation on anybody to listen to anybody else here.

Mr Cornwell: I wish that were so, sir.

MR QUINLAN: Nevertheless, Mr Speaker, just in case, ACTCOSS gave it a big tick. Let's turn to business. Wait for it: Mr Chris Peters of the Chamber of Commerce described initiatives as fantastic and said that they far outweigh the initiatives that he did not like.

The ACT division of the Property Council said that the budget initiatives were a good start for the economic future-a plan, a direction, I assume. They congratulate us for providing the funding for a convention centre and also describe Partners in Canberra as a great initiative. Of course they refer to the centre of excellence. The Tourism Industry Council's chief executive said that tourism was faring well in a tough budget year.

Unions support the budget and there are quite often hard to please, let me tell you. The conservation council said that the budget contains a number of very positive environment initiatives. Their director referred to the wood heater rebate, weed control measures, restorative works in parks and reserves and new woodland reserves at Callum Brae and Gooroo.

The Federal Police welcomed the funding. Mr Pratt happens to be within earshot, having spread rumours to the opposite. Mr Speaker, the ACT Ambulance Service have welcomed the significant funding in the budget for computer-aided dispatch. I am sure that the other emergency services branches would share that view.

Turning to the fire levy, in the vox pop in the Canberra Times today, seven out of 10 people had no objection and thought it was fair enough, given the circumstances of Canberra. Community group after community group has communicated its acceptance and given this budget the thumbs up.

Yesterday morning, Access Economics gave it a D-not an A, B, C, D, but a D for distinction. The only reason it did not get a high distinction was that it did not have initiatives in it to effectively buy business. Of course, Access Economics are an


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