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MR MOORE: There is an interjection from Mrs Carnell, “Not in health”. We know that in health Mrs Carnell has room to play. Incredible cuts are going on in health. That needs to happen. If we look back over the last 15 years, we see that in every single year Health has blown out its budget, and when it has blown out its budget that blow-out has become the new bottom line. The starting point was not what was appropriated the previous year plus the CPI increase; the starting point was what they had spent. That being so, the logical thing to do was to blow it out. I do not accept what Mrs Carnell is saying - that it does not apply in health - because there is room to move and to juggle the figures there.
A lot of what is happening here is a little bit of juggling of the figures, and that is why I say that Mr Stefaniak has been tricked. I think that in the initial response to the budget a lot of other people have been tricked as well. But I believe that when this Assembly as a whole looks at things it will realise that there has been a specific cut to education and that the Assembly as a whole should do something about it. It would be far better if the Chief Minister herself recognised how the trick has been done and how whoever in her department advises her on these things managed to manipulate the figures and convince her that it was not a trick.
The Liberal Party went into the election advocating open government, open processes, open political decision-making and so on. The situation was set out very clearly the other day when I asked Mrs Carnell a question and a supplementary question. I asked: What happens if the new heads of departments do not deliver on accrual accounting? The reply was that it will be in their contracts and that they must live up to their contracts, the implication being that if they do not live up to their contracts they are out. Now that you have given that responsibility and taken such a hard line, which I must say I think is appropriate, the question is: Will you take the same hard line with your Ministers? If they do not deliver what they are effectively contracted to do, if they do not deliver on their budgets and so forth, what kind of a hard line will you take with them? I think it is effectively the same question.
In looking at this budget it is important to take an overview of what has happened in the ACT. Let me say - and perhaps this overlaps a little bit with my point about open government and open processes - that there is no doubt that Budget Paper No. 2 is by far the single most significant improvement in communicating the message of the budget to the people of the ACT. The way it is presented makes it a particularly easy paper for people to read to get an overview and a general understanding of what is happening in the budget. I am not talking now about how the presentation juggled the figures; I am talking about the visual presentation and getting an overview of the message across. If you want an overview of the budget, it is the easiest document to read that I have seen. It is a significant improvement, and the Government certainly deserves to be congratulated.
Mr Speaker, in the budget papers - and I cannot remember now where I found it, but I am sure that we will find it again - the Government presents the overview of a decrease in private investment of 7.9 per cent compared to a 12.8 per cent growth nationally and uses this, I guess, as the basis of an argument that we ought to increase investment in business.