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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (9 March) . . Page.. 460 ..



not looking out for them. An example is the trivial matter of banning leaflets from windscreens. This economical form of advertising has been taken away, yet they feel that they are being bogged down with red tape.

Another area which I would like to see the Government pay closer attention to is facilities. Mr Deputy Speaker, one of the Government's key aims is the continued redevelopment of the city centre and increased participation in the city heart. This should not be done to the detriment of facilities and services in areas such as Belconnen.

The budgetary problems with health go without saying. Last week, for example, I discovered that the waiting list for the methadone program was a minimum of five weeks. Here we have the Chief Minister and the Health Minister wanting to make the quantum leap for heroin trials, knowing full well that the Prime Minister will veto heroin trials in any State, yet they cannot get the existing services in order.

Mr Deputy Speaker, we have a responsibility to live within our means and spend wisely; but I do think it is a bit rich for the Chief Minister to expect me to draw up a budget strategy, as outlined in her motion, when I simply do not have access to all the information she has. If the Government would like the rest of the Assembly to share in her budget, there has to be reform of the budget process. If there are areas which have to be cut, I am certainly willing to be part of that debate. It is a matter of deciding what is a priority and what is not. But the only way that the Assembly can do this collectively is to create a flexible budget. We should have choice in how we get to the bottom line, and I do hope that this is the direction in which the Assembly heads after today's debate.

MR HARGREAVES (4.58): I wish to contribute to this debate by addressing the following areas. It may be that I reiterate some of the points already made by my colleagues, and for that I apologise in part. I also make the point that these approaches should be underscored. I will in the course of my time address the roles of the Executive, the Opposition and the Assembly as a whole.

I do not accept that the Assembly has the responsibility to frame budgets. This is the responsibility of the Executive. It is that august body's responsibility to bring forth budgets and show the electorate how they intend to fund programs they took to the voters in the previous election. The Executive of this Government is charged with fulfilling promises that were made to the electorate early last year.

The reason why the Liberal Party is in power at present is that there was a large personal vote for the Chief Minister. It turns out that this very same person was the Treasurer in the previous Assembly and is the Treasurer in the current one. One can only assume that the voters in Molonglo expressed some confidence not only in their financial ability, but also in her ability, to provide financial solutions to the ills that have been wrought on this fair city by Federal and ACT Liberal governments. Mr Deputy Speaker, she leads a government which is to provide the resources, through the public purse, for funding her mandate. She has a responsibility to do so. It is not the responsibility of the parties in opposition to come up with ways to fund her promises. So, what were those promises, Mr Deputy Speaker? They were nothing more than a boulevard of broken promises.

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