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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2201 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

The mathematics here are simple enough, I think, even for those opposite, so Mr Moore should have no trouble whatsoever in working out the figures. Last year, the budget allocation for government schooling was $199.9m. Preschools have been transferred to another part of the department, so to avoid confusion we will take those off the equation. We then get down to a starting line of $192.2m. That is last year's budget allocation. The inflation forecast for the year right across this budget was 4 per cent, so maintaining funding in real terms means increasing that budget from last year by 4 per cent, which comes out at $7.7m. It so happens that our education policy statement released before the election said that we would maintain education funding in real terms. In brackets it said, "This will amount to approximately a $7m increase". The $7m figure was already there in our policy statement before the last election, so people knew exactly what the story was.

We have a $7.7m increase as a result of a 4 per cent inflation figure. On top of that, we have another $2m to cater for increased enrolments and an extra $4.7m for additional functions transferred into the department. That produces a total appropriation in 1995-96 of $206.6m - well above the figure for 1994-95, which we worked out was $192.2m. We have an extra $7.7m for the 4 per cent CPI increase; an extra $2m for increased student numbers; and an extra $4.7m for increased functions. No matter how you look at that now, it more than covers the $3.8m that Mr Moore and others have suggested we should have added. We have added more than that.

Some observers have pointed out that the education budget blew out. The comment has been made that the education budget blew out in 1994-95 due to a pay increase granted to teachers - one that was not traded off against efficiencies and so on, in line with the Federal Labor Government's view in this area. But, for all of that, it has been suggested that the education budget blew out. So how does our budget stack up, taking that into account? In current outlay terms, the outcome for 1994-95, that is, in actual terms, was $200.1m. My budget provides $206m. So, even if you compare actuals from last year with the appropriated amount for education this year, you get an increase of approximately $6m - again, more than enough to cover the $3.8m that is spoken about regularly by those opposite and Mr Moore and some other members as well. What we have is a situation where, if you compare actuals with this year's budget, you have an increase of $6m. If you compare, as we did in our policy statement, last year's budget with this year's budget, you have an increase of $9.7m. All of that more than covers the $3.8m pay increase that was not part of last year's actuals.

MR KAINE: I ask a supplementary question. Chief Minister, from your explanation, the argument that is being advanced that you should add at least $3.8m to your budget to maintain last year's expenditure is a gross misrepresentation of the facts?

MRS CARNELL: It is a gross misrepresentation of the situation. The bottom line here is that, if you compare actuals with this year's budget, there is an increase of $6m; if you compare the budget for last year with the budget for this year, there is an increase of $9.7m. Certainly, when I did mathematics, $3.8m was less than $6m and less than $9.7m. On that basis, there is no doubt that the $3.8m has been more than adequately covered by the $6m or the $9.7m.

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