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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 794 ..


Health Budget

MR WHITECROSS: My question is directed to the Chief Minister in her capacities as Minister for Health and Community Care and Treasurer. When you were preparing your budget last August, is it true that executives of the Department of Health told you that in their opinion your proposed budget - that is, the budget you ultimately brought down, which involved slashing $8m off your already sparse health budget - was unachievable? Did you choose to ignore their advice? If you did, as seems apparent, whose advice did you seek and take, which advice you considered to have more weight than the advice of your executives in the Department of Health?

MRS CARNELL: No, my executives did not tell me that. In fact, my executives signed off on the budget.

MR WHITECROSS: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

Mr De Domenico: Are you sure?

MR WHITECROSS: I will not comment on Mr De Domenico's interjection on this occasion.

MR SPEAKER: Ask your supplementary question, Mr Whitecross.

MR WHITECROSS: My supplementary question is this: Are you, Mrs Carnell, then saying that if these officers were to appear before an Assembly committee and say that this conversation did take place they would be lying?

MRS CARNELL: I would never say that any of my departmental staff would ever lie, under any circumstances, as they did not lie when we sat around the table and determined what the bottom line of the budget would be.

Taxi Industry

MR HIRD: I direct a question to Mr De Domenico in his capacity as Minister for Urban Services. Is the Minister aware of the remarks made by Mr Whitecross, this week's Leader of the Opposition, on radio today about the taxi industry? Would he like to comment on what the Government is doing to ensure that the ACT is served by an efficient and viable taxi industry?

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