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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (21 November) . . Page.. 2211 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Members of the committee were reluctant to allow this variation, in one way; but we could see no other reasonable alternative for the use of the land and felt that, in the best interests of the community, it would be better to allow the variation. I think this is a warning for us about development of land and where we put shopping centres. The sad part is that that shopping centre should have been put very close to the school in Monash, which would have made for a much more viable shopping area and community.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Report on the Appropriation Bill 1995-96

Debate resumed.

MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (3.19): I present the Government's responses to the Estimates Committee report on the Appropriation Bill 1995-96 and to the Standing Committee on Planning and the Environment Report No. 3 on the 1995-96 draft capital works program. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the Estimates Committee for its examination of government expenditure and revenue estimates for 1995-96. The Government supports either in principle or in full all but six of the recommendations. That compares somewhat favourably with the previous Government's response to last year's report, where they rejected seven of the recommendations. So we will support either in principle or in full all but six of the recommendations.

I will not respond in this tabling statement to all of the recommendations as they are outlined in the response. I would, however, like to take the opportunity to comment on some of the issues raised. The Government notes the committee's recommendation that we consider supplementing the education budget by a further $3.8m. I can tell this Assembly that we had a party room meeting at lunchtime, after the motion was passed this morning, to reconsider this and a number of other issues. We have considered the proposal and we have rejected it. This Government has honoured its commitment to maintain education funding in real terms. As a result, this budget discriminates positively in favour of education and the funding adequately covers the salary requirements of the department.

The Government will consider options to allow the members of the Assembly to be fully involved in the preparation of the Assembly's budget. We are very keen to ensure that we have maximum input into the budget process. However, the Government rejects the view that a penalty was applied to the Assembly's budget due to underspending in 1994-95. The Assembly's budget was started at the forward estimates published in the 1994-95 budget papers, and all subsequent adjustments were made known at that time. In other words, the underspent actual was not the basis of our budget figure. Further details of the Government's position on matters of disagreement are outlined in our response.

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