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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 664 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

cash reserve that the Territory inherited at self-government. There was, I think, approximately $200m in the cash reserve when the Territory became self-governing, and when we took over at the beginning of 1995 there was a big fat zero.

Mr Smyth: None left.

MS CARNELL: None left. They used the lot. It is all very well to say that we put money into funding superannuation liabilities. I have to say it is not a lot. We are putting in, I think, about $16m this year. They put in about $30m and $29m - in that sort of area. It was enough to address the emerging liabilities, but certainly not enough to fund future unfunded liabilities. There was not enough to address the problem, but what were they using? Cash reserves. That is not something, I would have thought, that they would be very proud of. Obviously, Mr Quinlan still has not got up to speed on what happened before he got into this place.

The thing that Mr Quinlan did not address and that the Labor Party has not addressed - I have to say that, apart from Mr Osborne and Mr Moore, it seems nobody wants to address it - is where our problem lies. Either we spend too much money or, alternatively, we tax at too low a level. Is it our revenue or is it our expenditure that is the problem? From this Government's perspective, the way we have addressed it, it is both areas. We have reduced our expenditure and we have increased our revenue base.

I can understand why Mr Stanhope wants to leave because I would be embarrassed, too, that they still have not come up with one idea. What we have been doing for the last three years is reducing our expenditure in the ACT. I cannot think of an occasion - maybe Mr Humphries might be able to think of one - when the Labor Party has supported us in any of the tough decisions that we have already had to make.

Mr Humphries: Take it on notice, Chief Minister.

MS CARNELL: We will take it on notice. We will wait for this budget, when we again make some very difficult decisions - one that nobody wants to make, and that is to reduce expenditure - to see whether we then get support. We must reduce expenditure. There is no other way.

Mr Humphries: They might on VMOs.

MS CARNELL: On VMOs they might. Yes, VMOs are an important part of our budget; but they are not nearly as important a part as our nurses, and, similarly, our nurses are paid more than the Australian average as well. Will we get similar support in our EBA negotiations with other people in our hospital system? I wonder. We will wait and see.

The issues for the ACT are how we reduce expenditure and how we increase revenue. One of the things that the ACT has done quite well since self-government is increase revenue. May I have my graphs at some stage? We are going to have some graphs so we can understand. We need an audiovisual presentation here. Since self-government, we have significantly increased our own source funding. Since we got self-government in 1989-90 we have increased our own source revenue by about double. At the same time,

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