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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (16 April) . . Page.. 919 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

This has not always been the case under the previous Labor Government, Mr Speaker. We have seen contracts go to marginal electorates. We have seen things happen that simply are not good business and certainly are not fair to ACT businesses. That is something we simply will not allow to happen under the new Government. Yes, there will be contracting out of a lot of IT services. I believe that that potentially can help our small businesses here, particularly if we do not see the sort of carrying-on we saw in the past, with contracts being given outside the ACT simply for political purposes.

MS FOLLETT: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. I note that Mrs Carnell has referred to as "speculation" something which was, in fact, an election commitment given by Mr Howard. This is a new interpretation of election commitments; they are mere speculation these days.

MR SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Minister is not responsible for comments made by Mr Howard. Would you ask your supplementary question, Ms Follett.

MS FOLLETT: I would suggest that he is not responsible either, Mr Speaker, if his colleague has referred to it as mere speculation.

Mr Speaker, I would remind the Chief Minister that Mr Howard made an election commitment, not to tender out IT business, but to reduce expenditure by $1 billion. My supplementary question is: Has she done any analysis whatsoever of what that reduction in Commonwealth business would mean for the more than 800 IT businesses in Canberra? It is a simple question. Give her another go at it. Yes or no?

MRS CARNELL: It seems as though they all got out of bed on the wrong side this morning. They are very grumpy today.

Mr Speaker, where the reductions in information technology were going to be, as I understand from the pre-election commitments of the coalition, was not spelt out. The actual areas involved were not spelt out. There will be a substantial move, as I understand it, away from a department-by-department approach to information technology. As Ms Follett probably does not realise, there was a Senate inquiry, prior to the last election, that actually suggested a whole-of-government approach to information technology and that that whole-of-government approach would save substantial amounts of money in terms of duplication. As the Howard Government is also committed to reducing duplication wherever possible, I am confident that it will go down that path. And is it not interesting, Mr Speaker, that that is exactly the approach that we are attempting, against all odds at times, to achieve in the ACT?

Homebirth Program

MS TUCKER: My question without notice is to the Minister for Health and Community Care, Mrs Carnell. Can the Minister inform the Assembly of the fate of homebirth options under the community midwives program and explain why she has been unable to deliver on the commitment she made to this Assembly regarding the commencement of the program by the end of March this year?

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