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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 8 March 2005 2005) . . Page.. 699 ..


MR STANHOPE: A responsible government would respond to those signals. We would respond to the signs of both the national and the local economy. This year there will not be the receipts that there have been over the last three years. We have had a period of four or five years of very good, strong economic growth reflected through land sales, stamp duty receipts and conveyancing receipts, as well as a range of other very strong economic performances across the board.

Mr Smyth: We’ve warned you for three years.

MR STANHOPE: I said that any responsible government would respond to those signs by tightening its belt through its next budget. It is certainly the case that our next budget—

Mr Smyth: A responsible government wouldn’t have spent it.

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth.

MR STANHOPE: Our next budget that we have commenced to work on will be a tight budget. It will not be gloom and doom. It will not be a horror budget, but it will certainly be tight. There will not be the levels of expenditure there have been in previous budgets. We as a government will continue to seek to repair the damage that was done by several years of Liberal government. We will seek to work on those issues of community expenditure that were ignored by the Liberals in government in relation to health and education.

Mr Smyth: What? Make up $340—

Mr Stefaniak: Bring the budget into balance?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Smyth, I have called you to order several times as a result of your interjections. I warn you that if that occurs again, I will name you.

MR STANHOPE: We will continue to support those areas of community expenditure that were neglected in the past and which have warranted the significant boost in expenditure that Mr Stefaniak refers to.

I wear it as a badge of pride and honour that we have increased expenditure in health to the extent that we have. I wear it as a badge of honour and pride that we have increased expenditure in education to the extent that we have. It is a badge of honour to me that we, as a government, have met the needs of this community to the extent that we have in relation to those major areas of expenditure of health and education.

Mr Stefaniak talks about the significant ramping up of expenditure in mental health. The Liberals ignored this to the point where mental health expenditure in the ACT was the lowest of any place in Australia under your government. I am sadly disturbed by your priorities. You left us with the lowest per capita level of expenditure on mental health of any place in Australia.


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