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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1810 ..

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Horodny for her question. Let me say, through you, Mr Speaker, that Ms Horodny would realise that the review is just that - a review that was out for community consultation. In direct response to her allegations about jobs and the number of jobs, let me say that the review concludes that staff numbers are high. There is no doubt about that; the review is a public document. Agreed staffing levels throughout the review have been maintained for most of the past year, so that there have been no jobs lost over the past year, Ms Horodny. If the review's recommendations to restructure opening hours are adopted - and I am saying "if they are adopted" - the Government will not slash any jobs; it is a commitment that the Government has given and will continue to give. Any reduction in staff numbers will happen only through natural attrition or voluntary redundancies over a period of time as recommendations are adopted. The review has found that the amount of money spent on the library service budget, by the way, is adequate; however, too much is spent on keeping the libraries open for the span of hours and not enough is spent on materials and information and technology. In direct answer to Ms Horodny's question, there will be no involuntary redundancies in ACT libraries.

Budget Management

MS FOLLETT: My question to Mrs Carnell, in her capacity as Treasurer, relates again to Mrs Carnell's public statements about the outcome of the Premiers Conference. I ask Mrs Carnell: Is it not a fact that it has actually been your own mismanagement through actions like the health budget blow-out of more than $14m; the mishandling of the industrial dispute, which has cost us over $5m; your waiving of stamp duty to CRA, which has cost us over $10m - - -

Mr Humphries: Rubbish!

MS FOLLETT: Is it not a fact that it has been your mismanagement that has actually cost the community far more than the recent decision by the Howard Government to cut funding to the States and Territories?

MRS CARNELL: I think Mr Humphries is right: What a load of rubbish! It is interesting that those opposite continue to believe that, in Health, seeing more patients and reducing waiting lists is somehow something that we should not be proud of. The fact is that we are proud of it. We fully agree that we have to get the health budget under control, but at least when we overspent our health budget we did it for reduced waiting lists and more patients - unlike those opposite, who also blew their health budget and did it for no extra patients and a doubling of the waiting lists.

Ms Follett: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: I would refer Mrs Carnell to the issue of relevance. I have outlined policies of this Government which cost $29m, one of which was health, and asked the question: Do not those examples of mismanagement cost this Territory far more than Mr Howard's cut to our general revenue grant? She has only to say yes, and I am happy.

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