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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 2025..

Debate resumed (continuing):

We note that in the out years the amount listed through this appropriation bill, the $29 million for the part year, will become $55 million in 2004-05, $73 million in 2005-06 and $82 million in 2006-07. The curious thing is that the negotiations are not complete. Indeed, I suspect that none of the back pay, particularly for teachers, who have not received the back pay that was agreed to back in October, will not be paid by now.

Ms Gallagher: We cannot pay them.

MR SMYTH: The minister shrugs her shoulders and says, "We cannot pay them. We cannot give them their money."The government cannot give the workers something they have been entitled to from last October. You have to wonder whether this is not just a ploy to push the payments out into the coming year. Certainly, the teachers are suspicious and we are suspicious of the government's intentions. It will be interesting to see when the negotiations are completed exactly how much the whole process has come to.

There was quite a lot of throwing around of numbers during the estimates inquiries and it was said that the Liberals only put 1.6 per cent away. It would appear that the government made allowance for only 1.3 per cent. I remind members that, had the Treasurer's estimate of a $7.8 million deficit this year come true, there certainly would not have been the $29 million required this year. I suspect that the payments this year will go well beyond the $29 million estimated. But enough on the EBAs.

Running through the requests for the various departments, we would certainly have some concerns about the commercialisation investment fund. I think it reeks of the word "Tricontinental"and I smell a bit of Victoria Inc. here. I am concerned that the government is getting into something that possibly it does not have to get into and I think that the case made for it to occur is not the strongest. We would query the putting away of this $10 million.

The contribution towards the new capital facilities at the University of Canberra is welcome. Building up our universities is something that we would agree with and something that we worked towards. Indeed, if you look at the work Charles Landry talks of in his book The Creative City, as he has espoused today and has done all this week at some functions, making sure that your universities remain at the leading edge is certainly worth making happen.

As to building a stronger community, the community inclusion board and the community inclusion fund reek of a slush fund, quite frankly.

Mrs Cross: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker. The disruption on this side makes it very difficult to concentrate on Mr Smyth's comments.

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

MR SMYTH: Apparently the need is there, asserted by the government, but when you ask what it will do you find that it will have a community board led by Hugh Mackay that will direct the government to spend its money more wisely. You would have to be worried about a government that does not seem to be able to prioritise what is really core

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