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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 876 ..

MS CARNELL: I thank Mr Hird for this question because I am sure that all of us have been saying, "What on earth does Mr Quinlan mean? Is it too much? Is it too little? Is it halfway between the two?". It is a good question because it exposes again the inconsistencies of some of those members opposite, particularly Mr Quinlan, who really should know better. Supposedly, Mr Quinlan is an accountant and therefore should understand these things. We never really expected Mr Berry to. It is indeed true, Mr Hird, that on 9 June Mr Quinlan was on ABC radio here in Canberra calling for a major economic stimulus in the budget. He said that there needed to be a concerted effort to increase spending. He said:

The ACT Government should be looking at whatever it can do to stimulate economic activity.

I will say it again - "whatever it can do to stimulate economic activity". Yesterday we brought down a budget with a balance of spending restraint and increased revenue. Funding for employment, business and marketing programs increased, reflecting our commitment to job creation. You would have thought that that was just what Mr Quinlan had ordered. It appears not. Remember that he wanted a concerted effort to increase spending. But what was Mr Quinlan's response yesterday? He wasted no time in getting out to the media and arguing that the Government should not have gone ahead with the sale of the streetlights to ACTEW - a decision actually announced last year. Let us be very clear about what Mr Quinlan was demanding.

Mr Stanhope: Did ACTEW demand it?

MS CARNELL: Yes. I will address that. Mr Quinlan, and it appears Mr Stanhope as well, were demanding a $100m cut to spending. Could anybody believe that? Here is a man who a fortnight ago was calling for a concerted effort to increase spending now suggesting a $100m cut in spending. A man who was demanding that the Government look to whatever it could do to stimulate economic activity is suggesting a $100m reduction in economic activity. Mr Speaker, compared to the sensible spending restraint the Government displayed in the budget, Mr Quinlan's $100m cut would have dramatic consequences. In jobs, $100m translates to 2,000 jobs. That would be 2,000 jobs out of the ACT Public Service if we did what Mr Quinlan yesterday suggested, it appears, we do.

It gets even worse. The $100m Mr Quinlan now advocates cutting from the budget was factored into Labor's own financial forecast. It was right there. What was it? It was "Working Capital". That is the one, the discredited "Working Capital" manifesto. It is there, Mr Speaker. It is not just in "Working Capital", though. It is also in the revised costings produced by the Labor Party just before the election. What did they include? They included the ACTEW streetlight sale. It was part of the Labor Party's policy, had they been elected, to do exactly what Mr Quinlan said yesterday that we should not have done. Not only do we have a complete about-face - - -

Mr Stanhope: Tell us about the Belconnen pool. Where is the $15m?

MR SPEAKER: That was not the question.

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