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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 6 Hansard (7 June) . . Page.. 1832..


Questions without notice

Business-programs

MR STEFANIAK: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, in the economic white paper you said that the ACT will be:

... unashamedly pro-business and committed to actions that will make the ACT the premier business friendly location in Australia.

At a time when you should be attempting to expand the economic base of the ACT and generate increased revenue, why have you failed to pursue these objectives by imposing a draconian $5 million cut in business programs?

MR STANHOPE: Indeed, I am pleased to respond to any question or request for information about this government's commitment to business, to economic development and, indeed, to a strong economy-a strong bottom line and a vigorous approach to the management of our budget. This budget that has just been brought down confirms that and continues it.

Some of the indicators about which we are all aware give some indication of that, starting-despite this newfound attitude of the Liberal Party to the Australian accounting standards-with the fact that this government has just delivered its fifth consecutive surplus. That is five in a row-a surplus, under the extant accounting system, of $120.5 million-the second largest surplus delivered by any government since self-government. That is a sign of the strength of the ACT economy; it is a sign of the commitment of this government to the economy, and to economic development and support for business.

The economic white paper was the first and most significant attempt at strategic planning and forward thinking, and the provision of a vision in relation to business and economic development at any time since self-government. We have followed through on that.

It is interesting, in the context of our commitment to the economy and to business, to reflect on some of the major investments that we as a government have made directly focused on the support of business and the business sector. If you like, you could start with the convention centre. I well remember from the opposition bench the finagling and the breast-beating that came from the then government, the Liberal Party, in relation to the need for new, enhanced and reinvigorated convention facilities for the ACT. I remember well, particularly from Mr Smyth in his then capacity, the promises that they were "gunna"do something about the state of convention facilities and the infrastructure within the territory. But it was not until this government was elected-

Mrs Dunne: Mr Speaker, I rise on two points of order. One is: what will you do about the failure of the Chief Minister to sit in his place when people rise to make points of order? It is becoming a continuing problem and is a sign of considerable arrogance and rudeness-in much the same way as this morning on the radio when he was speaking over the people.


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