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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 24 March 2010) . . Page.. 1411 ..


audited surpluses, including the biggest and second biggest since self-government. He also forgets—although he did go to it, and then blamed—the four consecutive years of Liberal government deficits, the highest being $344 million and the lowest being $157 million in 1997-98.

In his motion, Mr Smyth asked us to prioritise budget spending—in his words to “ensure that … vulnerable Canberrans do not pay the price of the Government’s fiscal ill-discipline over the last eight years”. That is exactly the spending priorities of this government. On another page—it might not have been written down—Mr Smyth then accuses the government of eight years of reckless spending. Tell that to child protection, Disability, Health, teachers in education and the community sector. They have received record levels of investment. Yes, sure, they want more, but there have been record levels of investment from this government. You come and say that is reckless spending, reckless spending in this community. We have prioritised budget spending to redress the chronic neglect of services to the most vulnerable in the community—not in our eight years, but under the previous government. We have talked about that neglect and how we have now redressed it many times, and I do not need to go into that detail again.

This motion is ironic, given the state of disability services and mental health services. What was it? There was the lowest per capita spend on mental health services in the country here when we came to government. The child protection services—I think there were 30 child protection workers that managed all of the child protection inquiries across the ACT. There were the 114 public hospital beds that were cut from the public health system and the attacks that you waged against nurses in your pursuit of a regressive industrial relations agenda—and then you did not budget for any wage increase that you had promised them. That was really tremendous budgeting, wasn’t it? Let us go out and promise an annoying workforce, people who have given us a lot of problems, a wage increase, but not actually budget for it. That is your legacy, Mr Smyth. It is not a decision that this government has taken. We have taken decisions to show and to provide for wage increases right across our workforce.

The shadow treasurer last year moved a motion criticising me, from memory—no surprise to anyone in this place—for the economic conditions at that time. That was in March last year, I believe. Members would also recall, and would see if they go back to that debate, that I did try to explain to him there about the most synchronised and sharpest economic slowdown that we have seen across the world—

Mr Smyth: And what did you do in response?

Mr Seselja: Which CommSec said you were insulated from.

MS GALLAGHER: and the fact that this has had a massive impact on our budget.

Mr Smyth: What did you do in response?

MS GALLAGHER: All right, Mr Smyth: you are denying that the global financial crisis had any impact on our budget. Is that it?

Mr Smyth: No, I did not say that.


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