Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 4 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 889 ..
MS TUCKER: My question is also to the Minister for Urban Services. It relates to the Energy Research and Development Trust, which is being abolished as part of the gas reform legislative package. I wrote to the Minister about this issue last week. I am sure you will agree that all the projects funded by this trust fund, including natural gas vehicle trials, co-generation studies, energy efficiency projects and so on, have been extremely valuable. Without access to the funds from the Energy Research and Development Trust, these projects would not have been possible. While I acknowledge that the Government has no choice but to remove the levy on gas sales following the 1997 High Court ruling that prevents the ACT from raising revenue from a quantum of sales, I would like to know what plans the ACT Government has to establish another fund to ensure research and development of alternative fuel and other alternative energy sources, as well as energy efficiency projects for the ACT, so that these sorts of projects can continue.
MR SMYTH: I thank the member for her question. The research that goes into alternative energy sources and promoting the environment is very important. Currently, for instance, in recycling we are looking at mulching, sewage sullage and the use of waste paper. I would have to give my support to those. I believe that they are very important. However, I have a limited budget in which to operate. I have to prioritise the things that I need to do inside the budget that I have. We will have to live with that in the context of this year's budget. I still intend to discuss with industry and any other group that is interested in these research projects ways to find additional money to put into research for projects that benefit the environment.
Ms Carnell: Mr Speaker, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, I think in answer to the first question today I indicated that the growth in private sector consumption spending was 6.3 per cent in the six months of this year. It is actually in the 12 months to the end of the March quarter, so that is even better.
MR QUINLAN: I seek leave to make a statement under standing order 46.
MR SPEAKER: Proceed.
MR QUINLAN: As part of Mr Harold Hird's dorothy dixer, I was quoted. I do not blame you, Harold. You are just doing your job. At no time did a press release of mine or a statement of mine talk about cutting $100m out of revenue. The purpose of my press release was to let the world know that the Government was borrowing a further $100m, which it is. Personally, I do not have an objection to borrowing absolutely per se. There are times when it is appropriate.