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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 11 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 3045 ..

MR DE DOMENICO (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this Government has done more to attract business and to foster business growth in Canberra in the nine months it has been in power than the previous Labor Government could have even contemplated during its term. I am confident that the range of initiatives and measures we have introduced will go a long way to fostering business growth in the future, and the figures will start to reflect that. Just to encapsulate what it is all about, from 1 January 1996 payroll tax exemption levels go from $500,000 to $600,000. From 1 January 1997, Mr Wood, they go from $600,000 to $800,000. That will bring $13.5m back into the private sector, Mr Speaker. That will create jobs, Mr Wood. It goes to show you that State and Territory governments, if they get off their hands and do something about it - you sat on your hands for five years - can do something to increase business confidence in this Territory.

MR WOOD: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I am afraid you have not convinced the business community, Mr De Domenico, and nobody here either. Mr Speaker, Mr De Domenico said in his answer that speculation about a Federal election was causing some anxiety. That can only mean that the business community and others are scared witless in case there is a change. Thank you for the comment, Mr De Domenico.

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank you for the supplementary question. Let me refer to that. Mr Wood, there is no doubt that the business community out there is yearning and waiting in glee to change the Federal Government. Under Mr Keating's stewardship there is the highest foreign debt in the history of Australia and the highest unemployment level in the history of Australia. Do you think that is good news, Mr Wood? Just as the people of the ACT did in February and March of this year, they will chuck out the Federal Labor Party. They will do so just as quickly and just as savagely as they chucked you out.

Hospitals - Waiting Lists

MR HIRD: Mr Speaker, the natives are restless. I would like to address a question through you, Mr Speaker, to Mrs Carnell in her capacity as Minister for Health. Mrs Carnell, Mr Connolly said on radio this week - I think it was 2CN - that the fall in the hospitals waiting list of 149 in November meant nothing because - to quote him - you should compare November's figures in previous years to really indicate what is happening to the waiting list at our hospitals. Could you inform us as to where we are at and whether that statement is true?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Hird. It was interesting to hear Mr Connolly on radio the other morning when we announced that the waiting list had fallen by 149 in November, which really showed that finally our policies are starting to be effective. In fact, the $2m we put into the health budget to address the waiting list problems has already resulted in 200 extra operations being done at Calvary Hospital. Mr Connolly said categorically, "This means nothing; this 149 means nothing. You have to compare November to November". I would like to do that for this house. Mr Connolly is actually right. In November 1994 there were 4,407 on the waiting list.

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