Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1933 ..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
I can give a number of examples. Some of them we have discussed today. We discussed buses and public transport. We need to keep ACTION's budget in line. We have to be very careful about how much money we put into it. We do not talk about the cost of building John Dedman Parkway and the Majura Freeway that will have to be built and all the other roads that will have to be built. We do not talk about that in our accounting system at all. It is a short-term focus once again.
We talk about gaol. We are much happier to talk about law and order. We are much happier saying, "Let us put cameras in Civic. Let us have prevalence in sentencing. Let us have move-on powers". That is not going to cost a lot, but in the long term it is going to cost heaps because we are going to have more and more people in gaol. Mrs Carnell has already said that today. At question time, in answer to a question on drugs in sport, she said that she does not want to have a hard line on drugs. She does not want to pay for people in gaol. While we continue to focus on the law and order responses and not the prevention and intervention responses, it might look good right now in the budget, but it will not look good in the long term.
Let us have a low education budget as well. Let us keep the education budget in line. Let us be responsible. What happens in the long term if people are not accessing a high-quality education? You have higher unemployment. What does that mean? It means higher costs for the community. It is also an argument about the environment. You end up not taking appropriate and responsible actions at the present because it might cost more, but the long term repercussions of that will be that you will have an increasingly degraded environment, which will have huge cost implications for everyone in society.
I have just focused on the financial aspects. The other aspect of all this short-term planning is the social cost and the social capital that is being impaired and not being respected and built up in our society. What that means is that our wellbeing as human beings will be continually impacted on in a negative manner and as people we will all suffer. That is the other side of the argument. You argue it just on economic terms. That is what came up at the ACTCOSS conference yesterday and that is the danger of Mr Rugendyke's speech today. He is so conned by this line that we need to get the operational debt in line. Of course we do, but you also have to look at the long-term costs and benefits of policies. That does not happen enough.
MR WOOD (5.48): I want to use the opportunity afforded by this debate to raise two issues relating to the Minister's portfolio. The first is that of Quamby. It has been out of the news in the last few weeks. The heat may be off. I hope it is. I hope things are going well out there. I assume that privileges have been returned to the people there and that some different directions are being taken. That is the point I want to raise. We were circulated with a document entitled "Quamby Youth Detention Centre - A Performance Review". This was a departmental review and no doubt it is attracting a great deal of attention.