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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1367 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I think it is worth making a couple of comments. Mr Berry did quote the Canberra Times in the first part of this question. The Canberra Times this morning made comments like this:

The Carnell Government has turned the territory's finances around, slashing the operating loss by more than half in the year from July and predicting a balanced Budget the year after - the first since self-government.

I think it went on to say, "It establishes her" - meaning my - "financial management credentials", Mr Speaker. That is more than you can say for "Working Capital" and Mr Berry.

Environment and Heritage Budget

MS TUCKER: My question is directed to the Minister for Urban Services and is about the budget appropriation for environment and heritage. Minister, in the budget papers there were several new funding initiatives for the environment, in particular, $340,000 for implementation of the ACT greenhouse strategy, and also increased funding of $154,000 for membership of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. However, I note that the overall expenditure for the environment and heritage has only increased by $82,000, which is obviously not going to cover these initiatives. Could you therefore tell us what activities are going to be cut within environment and heritage to free up funds for these initiatives? If none are going to be cut, where is that money coming from?

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I am not sure how she did her maths to get that total. The advice from the department is that the overall increase is some $800,000 for the environment funding for this year, which I have to say I am very pleased about. We are pleased to put money into - - -

Ms Tucker: So you are saying there is $800,000 new money? Is that what you are saying?

MR SMYTH: The advice I have is that the overall increase is $800,000.

Ms Tucker: New money? Right.

MR SMYTH: New money. Extra money. We are very pleased that it goes to things like the Murray-Darling, to which we are committed. The ACT Government is responsible for the water that flows through the Territory. There is money there for the Commissioner for the Environment to make sure that the Year 2000 Environment Report is done as well. Extra money will be going in through the capital works program to things like Tidbinbilla, for instance.

We are very committed to the environment. This is perhaps the greenest government in Australia. We are the only government that takes things like greenhouse targets seriously enough to set targets. We have taken our control of water seriously through the water abstraction charge. We say to the people of the ACT that it is very important that we

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