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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 639 ..



had used actual CPI figures. In other words, Mr Speaker, had the Government stuck to actual CPI outcomes, education would have received $26m less than it has over the past three years. Indeed, Mr Speaker, in 1997-98 the actual CPI was minus 0.7 per cent. If the Government had used that figure it would have reduced funding for schooling by a significant amount. Instead, we increased funding by 1.8 per cent during that time. Again, Mr Speaker, it shows that Mr Berry is wrong. These are important figures and, yes, it does mean that education has ended up with significantly higher figures than the real levels of CPI over that time.

Mr Berry also had a bit of a go on health costs. I assume that what Mr Berry was saying was that he thinks we are spending too much on health and therefore should be reducing expenditure. I could not agree more, Mr Speaker. But it seemed at the same time that Mr Berry was being somewhat negative about our health outcomes. Again, Mr Speaker, you would have to wonder what on earth he was talking about.

I would like to finish, Mr Speaker, by urging the Independents and the crossbenchers to listen and to read the speeches of those opposite. They made it very clear that were they in government they believe that the role of the government is to bring down a budget. We agree. But they also made it very clear - this afternoon Mr Berry made it patently clear - that they do not believe it is the role of the Assembly to input into that budget process. He made it extremely clear - it is in black and white in Hansard - that he believes that the Government should bring down the budget, that the Assembly should not have any input into that, and basically the Government should sink or swim on that basis. If the crossbenchers believe for one moment that they will have any input into future budget processes under a Labor government they should read, particularly, Mr Berry's speech and some of the other speeches given by members of the Labor Party.

Mr Speaker, this Government does believe in input into the budget process. We have done that every year since we came to government. We are quite interested in looking for better and more efficient ways to do that. Unfortunately, this budget debate has shown, quite categorically, that a large number of the members of this Assembly are simply not willing to tell us what they think we should do. They are only willing to tell us what they think we should not do. I think that is pretty tragic.

Mr Wood said in his speech that we had not put up one idea. Mr Speaker, that is simply ridiculous. During this debate we have indicated that we should be looking at increasing taxes for larger clubs. That is quite a specific proposal. I suggested in my speech that I believe that there needed to be more money for disabilities. I think I even used a figure for that extra money. We have indicated that we believe that we cannot move away from looking at school amalgamations and closures. I indicated in my speech that we had to cut staffing in areas such as medicine and administration in our hospital system. The list goes on. These are all very specific proposals on both the revenue and the expenditure sides. Mr Speaker, the Government has put our credentials on the table. It is just a pity that those opposite have not done the same.

MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition): I seek leave to speak again, Mr Speaker.

Ms Carnell: I have closed the debate.

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