Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 23 November 2021) . . Page.. 3461 ..
sorts of counter-cyclical fiscal responses which are already positioning us very well for the strong economic rebound that we are now experiencing.
As I indicated in the budget outlook, our return to balance will take place beyond the forward estimates—unless the economic recovery picks up even further pace—and will be supported of course by an ongoing strong public health response, including a world-leading vaccination program. This underpins the success of our economic recovery.
The support provided to local business, of course, strengthens the community overall and will continue to drive confidence in our economic recovery. The recovery of the fiscal position will be gradual and it will be consistent with the government’s endeavour to continue to provide high quality essential services. We are not going to undertake an austerity agenda or pull the rug out from under the feet of a recovering economy.
The standing committee reports contains 196 recommendations on the various budget and Appropriation Bill matters. Perhaps to the relief of members, I will not address all 196 recommendations one by one in this speech. Of course, the very lengthy government response to all 196 recommendations, I would note, was put together in a time frame about 10 times faster than the committees generated their recommendations. In summary, the government has agreed to 51, agreed in principle to 62, agreed in part to six, noted 74, and not agreed to only three of the 196 recommendations.
In conclusion, none of the issues raised in any of the reports of the standing committees should prevent the passage of the Appropriation Bill, nor the Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill. I invite those opposite to consider voting for the budget this time, not least of why is that you may deprive Minister Gentleman of some material in question time were you to do so. On behalf of the government, I commend the government’s response to the standing committee reports and, in advance of the next four or five, maybe six, days of budget debate, commend both appropriation bills to the Legislative Assembly.
MR HANSON (Murrumbidgee) (10.21): I will not talk to the substance of the report, because obviously none of us have seen it. I just want to talk about what an arrogant and botched process has got us to this point. The government’s response is a lengthy report, as the Chief Minister described it, with 196 recommendations, and shortly Mrs Jones is going to be standing up in this place to debate the health budget without the ability to look at the government’s response to the committee report. I am going to be speaking about education, and I might get the chance to flick through it, if I am lucky, before that debate occurs.
If you think this is good process, Mr Acting Speaker, it is not. What it is is an arrogant process born of this government’s desire to take shortcuts and rush and ram this process through. We have all experienced it in committees, where we did not even have transcripts and answers to questions back before reports were written in a hurried fashion. It has all been done so this government can rush to get out on holiday on 2 December and break from this place instead of actually doing this in a deliberative