Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 November 2011) . . Page.. 5478 ..
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (9.02): Of the points in Ms Le Couteur’s amendment there are a number that the government has no particular issue with. There are quite a few statements of fact in there. Largely all of the points in the first part that are noted I understand and am happy to acknowledge.
But I do have some issue with the Assembly yet again and in the context of question time this afternoon. I was shouted down while trying to make the point, in the context of debates over a cut in taxes and charges in this place, that nearly every time we debate other matters within other portfolio responsibilities of shadow ministers or Greens spokespeople there is always a call for additional funding in a particular area, and here we go again. In principle we would all agree that providing additional funding to community festivals is a good thing. The government has indeed done that, as I have indicated.
With the co-location of territory venues and events, tourism and the community events all within the Economic Development Directorate, there are certainly opportunities, through streamlining administrative processes and in looking at the sorts of events that we fund, to be able to direct some more resources towards local events, noting, though, that there is not a bottomless pit of money. We cannot every time we might want to just throw more money at something when we get this constant desire, at least from those opposite, to cut back almost every revenue line that would indeed pay for these worthy government investments.
I do need, and it was remiss of me to not make this observation in my earlier comments, to remind Mr Hanson of the difference between capital and recurrent expenditure in terms of budgeting. Whilst it might be a cheap debating point to once again roll out the “we hate public art” chorus, it is important to note that that was a capital allocation, Mr Hanson; it is not available as recurrent expenditure but is a one-off capital allocation and so is treated differently in the territory accounts. I am sure that after four years in this place Mr Hanson would be aware of that.
The Canberra Liberals have form on this. They are very fond of trying to convert capital allocations into ongoing recurrent allocations, but they have been caught out on this before. It is important to repeat the point that cheap attacks on public art, whilst entirely predictable, are getting to the point of tedious repetition; a theme we have seen a lot of today. But you cannot use a capital line and bring it over to a recurrent amount and think that that—
Mr Hanson: The grant is not a recurrent amount.
MR BARR: The festival fund is a recurrent allocation, Mr Hanson.
Mr Hanson: Not for Weston Creek it wasn’t, though.
MR BARR: It is a recurrent allocation every year.
Mr Hanson: No, they didn’t get it every year.