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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 June 2010) . . Page.. 2998 ..


What we see in this budget is ministers jostling for their vanity projects. We see it with the $26 million for the arboretum. We see it with Mr Corbell. He said that, by his own admission, he gets quite excited when he talks about ponds: “I’m particularly committed to these ponds.” The Auditor-General’s report came back yesterday saying: “It wasn’t on time. It’s blown the budget. We’re not going to get water when we were promised water. It’s still on the never-never.” Money that they thought they would be able to push off on to other people they have not been able to get other people to pay for and the territory has to recoup that money—all for a pilot program which has not been evaluated, but we are committed to the next phase anyhow. That is Mr Corbell’s own little vanity project in one department. The Auditor-General has come back with a whole lot of question marks about that one.

Then we have Mr Corbell’s virtual court—the court that is not there, the court that can have no-one have a good word to say about it. There is no rigour in this budget. There is no-one saying no. There is no-one questioning the value of it. I shudder to think what goes on in budget cabinet. There is no rigour. This is borne out by the best reading of the answer to the question: “Please provide a list of initiatives or programs that are run under each output.” If the ministers cannot answer the questions, they are not in control and they do not know what is going on. That is the best gloss that you can put on it. The other one is that they know and they hold this place in contempt by refusing to answer. Either way, they are knaves or they are fools. The people of the ACT are being served either by knaves or by fools and they deserve much better.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (9.50): Let that be a lesson to us about recommitting votes and suspending standing orders. I think we have learnt our lesson—next time the opposition are asleep when they are all present, we will just press on. The Hansard would be a lot better for it.

We have heard a lot tonight from the opposition trying to whip up a storm over the budget; a storm that is not being bought or agreed to by anyone else in the community. I have not had one letter of complaint about the budget, much to the dismay of the Liberal opposition. I have not had one complaint from an industry group. I have had a number of meetings with industry, and they have actually congratulated the government on continuing with our program of investment in this budget and not slashing and burning. I have not come across one supporter of the Liberal opposition’s position on this budget—that is, of shock and alarm. They do not buy it.

Mr Seselja: You should be fiscally responsible.

MS GALLAGHER: The Leader of the Opposition interjects that we are not fiscally responsible and that only he is. Just because everyone disagrees with Mr Seselja, we have all got it wrong. I would say that the community are pretty smart, and the community reaction to the budget has been good. It was not everything to everybody, but the community understood the constraints and pressures on the budget, the need to invest in core services, the need to push forward with our capital program and the need to restrain our spending in order to bring a surplus around as soon as possible. That is exactly what this budget does.


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