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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (17 February) . . Page.. 225 ..

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, if Mr Rugendyke has asked me what is going to happen in next year's budget to any particular part of the portfolio, then obviously I cannot answer him until the budget is brought down. If he is asking about what happened in the current year's budget, that particular unit is still there. I am not aware of any proposal that it should be removed in order to accommodate some concern about this year's budget. Like all areas of the department, however, it will be subject to the necessary review which accompanies the putting together of a budget. If it is apparent that some better use can be made of that money, then it will be given consideration.

This year's budget is finalised. It is in effect now. Obviously adjustments are made as the year goes on, but I am not aware of any particular pressures on the fire budget except possibly those in relation to the negotiations around the new enterprise bargaining agreement. Obviously, that agreement necessitates discussion with the unions about ways in which we can deliver pay rises, which sometimes result in productivity offsets that may involve some reorganisation of a particular administrative approach or unit. With that issue to one side, I am not aware of any imminent problem to do with this year's budget for that particular unit.

MR RUGENDYKE: I ask a supplementary question. You have indicated that the fire services budget can be tweaked between now and the end of the year. Could you guarantee the Assembly that money will not be taken from the fire services budget to help fund the SouthCare helicopter?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, I can guarantee that nothing is going to be plundered to pay for SouthCare because we already have money in the budget for SouthCare and have had for a couple of years now. SouthCare will not be causing any other areas of the portfolio or any other part of government to have to be looted to pay for it. As members will be aware, we are in the process of approaching a number of major sponsors who in turn may lead to the result that SouthCare becomes entirely self-funding without any contribution from the budget at all. I can guarantee that SouthCare will not contribute to the problems of this particular unit within the Emergency Services Bureau.

Ms Carnell: I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper, Mr Speaker.


Papers and Ministerial Statement

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present copies of contracts made pursuant to sections 31A and 79 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 with Linda Webb (long-term contract), Moiya Ford (long-term contract), Julie McKinnon (long-term contract), Megan Smithies (Schedule D contract variation), Shirley Bowen (short-term contract) and Elizabeth Fowler (short-term contract). I ask for leave to make a short statement in regard to these contracts.

Leave granted.

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