Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 9 Hansard (23 November) . . Page.. 2430 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Mr De Domenico might tell me if this has no reliability. My own estimates are that the increase is in the order of $11/2m, perhaps 11/4m, and that may go into a negative figure if we accommodate the reduction in the employment programs. That comes under this heading, and there is a very significant decrease in the employment programs. Mr De Domenico then tries to compensate for that by saying that the money we put into promotion - the virtually non-existent money - will help pick up that employment. This is a sleight of hand on the part of the Minister, typical of the budget as a whole. There is, let me concede, some increased expenditure, but it is not of the order the Minister claims and it is not of the order claimed in this cheap propaganda brochure.

MS TUCKER (8.47): I would like to make a few remarks about the budget in respect of business and regional development. As a number of my colleagues have pointed out over the past few weeks, business is a winner in this budget; yet once again without any strategy for what sort of business or jobs we want here in the ACT. In the Estimates Committee section on tourism, in answer to my question on whether the terms of reference for the tourism strategy included an analysis of the impact on the urban and natural environment of numbers of tourists and the nature of tourism, the Minister, Mr De Domenico, answered with great enthusiasm that the more tourists that came the merrier for everyone and we will see what the market does. That is hardly surprising from the Minister who also had to consult his bureaucrats on another question I asked, which was what his understanding was of the meaning of the word "sustainable" in another section of the estimates.

We have heard a lot about promotion of the ACT and events that we will attract here through the establishment of CanTrade. We have not seen the terms of reference for this group, aside from hearing that it is an exciting initiative to promote Canberra in national and international markets. We have not heard how the Government will be identifying suitable businesses for Canberra or whether this Government has realised that business with strong environmental credentials is the way of the future. Business, too, of all shapes and forms must be part of the path towards a more sustainable future.

The environment should not be just an add-on, as it is in this budget. It should not be just the responsibility of the Commissioner for the Environment. Every government department should have a commitment to making environmental protection an everyday part of its life and, if there are costs involved, these must be understood to be the investment they are, not a burden or a subsidy. This means assisting and encouraging businesses to adopt environmentally sustainable practices. This means attracting environmental consultants to the region, assisting businesses with environmental audits, seeking input into business policy from environmentally-focused organisations, and so on. Environmental protection does not have to hamper economic competitiveness. Obviously, a few motor events or golf tournaments are more important to this Government than a decent education system, libraries, public transport or even supporting local businesses. Maybe the ACT could grab the grand prix from Victoria now that they have taken it from South Australia, but it is not really a very creative approach to developing the local economy.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .