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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (24 September) . . Page.. 3316 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

The Government has decided to increase the licence fee payable by retailers of tobacco products from $50 to $100, effective from 1 September. This additional revenue of $30,000 will be used for enhanced tobacco education programs and enforcement strategies, in keeping with our public health goal of discouraging teenagers from taking up smoking.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, Canberra is at the crossroads. We can stand back and watch our economy and our citizens suffer the pain of Commonwealth funding reductions and redundancies without doing anything, or we can act now to restore confidence in Canberra by aggressively pursuing new investment, new industries, new jobs and new projects. This Government has taken the view that it is time Canberra stood on its own two feet and stopped relying on the Commonwealth to generate growth and wealth. We have outlined a budget strategy that will spark new business activity and generate new jobs, and we have done this without significantly increasing the burden on residents by maintaining the Territory's finances in a strong position. We will return the budget to surplus in cash terms and improve our overall bottom line by $48m in accrued terms. There is a government now that is prepared to take the lead in getting this city moving again.

Mr Whitecross: Where?

MRS CARNELL: Right here. I have made it clear from the day I became Chief Minister that my Government and I are here to do a job, and that is not just to get re-elected in three years' time - it is actually 18 months' time now. That job is to put Canberra's finances back on track, to make the hard decisions that have been avoided since self-government, and to manage better the services that are provided. There is no question that most Canberrans have been doing it tough since the new Federal Government was elected earlier this year; but we recognise that the last thing they or the economy can afford right now is for their local government to compound the problem. That is why this Government has embarked on the path we have outlined in this budget today. I commend the Bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Whitecross) adjourned.


MR SPEAKER: Members, I present, for the information of members, the following papers:

ACT Legislative Assembly Secretariat - Report and financial statements, including the Auditor-General's report, for 1995-96.

Purchase agreement between the Speaker and Clerk of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory.

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