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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 23 June 2011) . . Page.. 2404 ..

education, health, justice and community services. Indeed, all of those front-line service delivery agencies are experiencing significant pressure on their budgets because of the rising demand for government services.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot?

MR DOSZPOT: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My supplementary question to the Treasurer is: did you request the one per cent efficiency dividend from the Department of Education and why did you target the disability community?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, as Treasurer, I outlined a one per cent saving across government; so, yes. You can see that in the budget papers. Agencies were then asked to go and implement those savings with a view to minimising any impact on front-line services. Education’s response was: we cannot deliver that one per cent saving without impacting on front-line services because most of what we do is front-line service delivery.

They engaged in a process. There were some responses to that concern around delivering those efficiencies. But I think the department wanted to manage some reform of the way they provided services. That is fair enough too. We were all doing that across all agencies. But in the issues of education, Treasury engaged with Education very early in the budget process this year to examine why they could not meet their current efficiency dividend and what was going to be reasonable going forward.

I think you can see the government’s response to that outlined pretty clearly in this year’s budget, which no doubt you are going to support, Mr Doszpot, because if you do not you will be denying a lot more than what you are criticising me for. But we look forward to your support. It is very clear that it is coming.

MR SMYTH: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Minister, as Treasurer, when did you find out and what was your response when the education department announced it was unable to meet this year’s efficiency dividend target?

MS GALLAGHER: Well, I cannot recall exactly when I found out. I am aware of and briefed constantly about cost pressures in agencies’ budgets. It is part of my job as Treasurer. I was aware that education were experiencing some issues not just with the efficiency dividend but with their budget overall. I think you can see the government’s response to that in the budget where we have reinstated the money for the efficiency dividend to education and, indeed, we have provided more funding to deal with some of those key areas of cost pressures, including supporting children with a disability to reach their full potential at school. Yes, it is something I do as part of my job.

Mr Smyth: So you’ll take it on notice?

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