Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 3 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 679..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
representative group, organisation or interest group in the territory. I have received no such level of concern from journalists or the community at large about health, education, police services, rubbish or issues on rates; it is all focused on sport and recreation, to the extent that it has awakened my interest.
On the old theory that if there are so many people out there that think that sport and recreation is the obvious target of the government-and we have here a question in the Assembly today, following on questions in the media this morning and letters and phone calls-I thought, "Crikey, this is interesting. I wonder what has generated this level of concern about the vulnerability of sport and recreation to budget cuts."I have instructed the department to look doubly carefully at what we do in relation to sport and recreation. With all this smoke, there must be a fire somewhere. If the industry itself thinks that sport and recreation is such an obvious target of government interest, I had better investigate and find out what it is about sport and recreation that so attracts everybody's interest.
Mr Seselja, I had never given it a moment's thought until the last week or so. I have received no representations or suggestions that we should have a look at sport and rec, that it is an area where there might be a bit of fat and some cuts or savings could be made. My interest is up. I have the microscope out. I have asked the department to look at how every cent is spent in sport and rec. We will give it a thorough going over.
Mr Stefaniak: That is what they are worried about.
MR STANHOPE: I must say, Mr Stefaniak, if you had not led the charge, I would have been blithely ignorant and probably never given it a passing thought. With this raging campaign, my interest certainly has been whet. I am now looking with gusto at how we spend every single cent on sport and rec.
MR SESELJA: Can the minister assure the Assembly that ACTAS itself will not be sacrificed so that this government can proceed headlong with its expensive pet projects?
MR STANHOPE: I have answered that question. The government is not pre-announcing any budget decisions. The budget will be delivered. The member expected this response. Of course it is the response that I and every one of my ministers will give to every such question in relation to every area of government administration. These are matters that are being actively agitated before the cabinet in our now regular budget cabinet meetings. It is a long, exhaustive and tough process, as it has always been for every government and every cabinet in every parliament in Australia forever.
We will look diligently at the territory's priorities and will fund them appropriately. We will deliver the truths of that agitation, discussion and deep consideration in the budget. You and I know that neither I nor any one of my ministers is going to say, "I guarantee this", "I guarantee that", "I give this undertaking", "I confirm this", or "I deny that."We won't be entering into that game in relation to sport and recreation or in relation to any other aspect of ACT government service delivery or the budget.
MRS BURKE: My question is directed to the Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services. On 13 December 2005, when asked why a decision had been made