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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 20 October 2010) . . Page.. 4678 ..


PISA report noted that our school system was categorised as “low equity”. (Time expired.)

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Planning, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation and Minister for Gaming and Racing) (10.17): I rise this morning to speak on Mr Doszpot’s motion. I welcome it although, perhaps not surprisingly, Mr Speaker, I can advise the Assembly that the government will not be supporting it.

I welcome the motion this morning because it provides me with an opportunity to talk about the sound policy and processes being pursued by the government. As I indicated yesterday in question time and have put on the public record on a number of occasions—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

MR BARR: the government is committed to restoring a balanced budget. In 2009-10 we outlined a seven-year recovery strategy. We updated that in the 2010-11 budget and recast it to a five-year recovery strategy.

Let me make this very clear, Mr Speaker: the government remains committed to our fiscal strategy and to prudent financial management. Our budget recovery and the requisite adjustment task will take time. We have indicated a five-year process. It is interesting that in the budget debates—and we heard none of this from Mr Doszpot in his speech—the Canberra Liberals at that time called for more cuts faster. Now they take the entirely opposite position.

The government continues to take measured and long-term approaches to addressing our deficit. In doing this we have ensured that core services are maintained, that community wellbeing is not compromised, and that we are taking a prudent approach to risk mitigation and protection. That is what the community expects of the government and that is what we are delivering.

Part of doing this has been a government-wide, every-single-ACT-government-department efficiency dividend. That was contained in this year’s ACT budget and it was approved by this Assembly. Those members opposite have made a great show over the last couple of years of any attempt by me allegedly to defy the will of the Assembly. Yet that is exactly what they are asking me to do today. They also call on this government to return to surplus even sooner. So which is it? Which side of the street are you walking on today?

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members! Mr Doszpot was barely interrupted in his speech and I expect Mr Barr to be extended the same courtesy. I call Mr Barr.

MR BARR: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Indeed, the Canberra Liberals claim, and they do it through motions such as this, that one service or another must be quarantined or


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