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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3926..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

$800 million over the cycle—and that is only today; there are still seven weeks to go. I can provide documentary evidence to support every one of these promises, claims or commitments that the Liberal Party have made over the last four years, in this term, in the context of this election. That is headed up, of course, by Mr Smyth's commitment to an additional 100 acute care beds immediately on coming to government. That would come at a cost of $63 million. You can start any assessment of the seriousness of any promise which the Liberal Party make in that campaign by referring straight back to that promise by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to provide 100 acute care beds immediately on coming to government.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question from Ms MacDonald.

MS MacDONALD: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My supplementary question is: Chief Minister, are you aware of any potential risks that would undo this government's hard work in terms of fiscal discipline?

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker, and I thank Ms MacDonald. I am aware of $800 million worth of potential risk to the bottom line, to the budget, to the balance sheet. The first and, I think, most significant of those is the promise, on the record, by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to provide an additional 100 acute care beds, costed by Treasury at $63 million. There is a further promise by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to increase mental health funding to 11 per cent of the health budget. That comes in at $35 million.

These are promises made by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition when he was shadow Minister for Health: 100 acute care beds at a cost of $63 million and mental health funding taking up 11 per cent of the health budget at a cost of $35 million.

Then there are promises to: reduce hospital waiting lists at a cost of $5 million; restore the ESA to full independence—a promise of Mr Pratt's—at $3 million; restore funding to Business ACT at $5 million; develop new business initiatives at $185,000; reopen the Civic Shopfront at half a million dollars; reinstate the tourism budget at $4 million and increase maintenance costs for water at $10 million. These are all Treasury costs.

Then there are the promises to reverse school closures at $3 million; implement smaller class sizes at $10 million, rising to $16 million; provide professional support for teachers at $660,000; appoint an infrastructure commissioner for Canberra, because they do not have the competence or the confidence to do the work themselves, at $1.5 million and set up bulk-billing GP clinics that do not bulk-bill—unique and world leading bulk-billing clinics that do not bulk-bill!—at $8.9 million.

Those are some of the expenditure announcements that have been made. Over four years they add up to, what, $500 million. In the last year they come to $167 million a year.

Then we move to other risks that the balance sheet faces in relation to revenue cuts that the Liberal Party have promised during this last term. They would abolish the utilities networks facility tax at $17 million; abolish the levy on health funds at


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