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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (5 May) . . Page.. 1411 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

There is no source identified for the money that will be spent by the Government in complying with the legislation which Mr Berry has put forward. Fair enough; we have to find the money from somewhere else. That is clear enough.

It is also perfectly true that our budget has only just been presented and we have the chance, obviously, to amend it in some way to reflect the requirement which would be imposed upon us by this legislation. That also is fair enough. But that does not get around the fact that the money has to be found from somewhere.

Mr Speaker, we have already put a budget on the table. The Chief Minister and Treasurer has gone out into the public and told the public of this Territory very emphatically about the bottom line in the budget. I can tell you now that we are not going to change the bottom line in the budget. We are not going to change the bottom line in this budget. That is the end of the story. Full stop. So, unless members want to amend the budget for us, we are going to have to find from within the appropriation already contained in that budget the money necessary to cover this new Bill.

This Bill will cost the ACT in this coming financial year at least $300,000 - a good day's work if you can get it - and maybe as much as $500,000, and it will cost us that much each year subsequently. Each year that rolls past, assuming we have a capital works program of about the same size, it will cost us about that amount of money.

Mr Speaker, the only responsible course of action I could recommend would be to go back and trim the capital works program to accommodate the fact that each item already in the program will be more expensive than it was when we brought down the budget. Each item will now be more expensive because an extra amount will have to be added to it. Rather than simply add that to each item and have a capital works program which will blow out at the end of the year, it makes more sense simply to take something off that capital works program in order to be able to do that. That, Mr Speaker, is rather unfortunate.

MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education) (5.45): I will close the debate on those amendments, Mr Speaker. Given that we have all had a bit of a go on that, there are a number of consecutive amendments which we probably will not need to speak on.

I just want to reiterate one thing which I do not think my colleagues have actually said, although one of them might have, and that is that the Government's position on this has always been quite clear. If there was industry agreement we were quite happy for the Bill to go ahead. There has not been full industry agreement at any stage and that is why, at the end of the day, the Government has opposed it.

Coming back to the detail stage, I will close the debate in relation to my amendments. I reiterate the expertise and the appropriateness of the Vocational Education and Training Authority and its board. This is a Bill about training people and that is the body that is responsible fundamentally for training. By providing for that, you do not have the problem, first, of creating another statutory body, and, second, because of the nature of the Vocational Education and Training Authority Board, any problems which there might be in relation to possible conflicts simply do not arise. I impress that upon members.

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