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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3385 ..

MRS CARNELL (continuing):

We could potentially, I suppose, have increased taxes significantly. If we had increased taxes significantly, that would have forced businesses out of town. It would have made people who are already doing it tough do it even tougher. We do not believe that that is an appropriate approach either. The only way that we really can start to fundamentally change this particular economy is to get some growth back into the bottom line. You simply cannot pay unfunded liabilities in an environment where there is no growth, so the initial thing that we had to do with this budget was to get the economy back into forward gear, and that is what we are attempting to do.

Mr Osborne: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question.

MR SPEAKER: There is no supplementary question, I am afraid.

Mr Osborne: Mrs Carnell agreed to answer a second question.

MR SPEAKER: There is no supplementary question. You have asked a supplementary question.

Kick Start Housing Program

MS REILLY: Good try, Mr Osborne. My question is to the Minister for Housing. Minister, it is in relation to your new scheme Kick Start. I know that you answered a lovely question from across the way, but in this case I want you to concentrate on the job creation aspect of it. It talks about a total cost of $2.5m. Budget Paper No. 5 stated that the building industry estimates that this will provide 800 to 1,000 jobs in that sector. That works out at about $2,500 per job. How will the injection of $2.5m into the ACT building industry create 1,000 jobs? Has your department consulted the OFM over the estimate of 1,000 new jobs, and do they agree with that estimate?

MR STEFANIAK: I would think that the building industry would be about the most relevant and capable body to estimate how many jobs would be created by a scheme. I think they have far more practical expertise in that area than anyone in this Assembly. If they say this scheme has the potential to create between 800 and 1,000 jobs, I think you probably could not go to a better industry or a better body to actually make that estimate. In answer to the rest of your question, Ms Reilly, we are putting $2.5m in. That is $5,000 to each individual tenant as a grant towards a deposit on a home. That money will go towards the cost of buying a home. In many instances that will be a new home. That will in turn lead to jobs, because people have to build homes. It is a very good scheme and it is something that you should not actually try to pooh-pooh. I know that that is rather hard to do, because it is an excellent scheme that does have the chance of generating significant work for people in Canberra.

Mr Whitecross: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Mr Stefaniak is clearly waffling because he does not know the answer. Mr Speaker, Ms Reilly's question was: Has your department consulted the Office of Financial Management over the estimate of 1,000 jobs? He should be answering that question, not recounting the details of the scheme.

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