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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1542 ..

MR RUGENDYKE (continuing):

could still be open to complaint in terms of pricing structure. If the Government decides that its final approach for the aquatic centre is to own and operate the facility, the question of subsidy rears its head again.

If the Government is serious about going ahead with this project, I urge it to fully safeguard itself against future complaints. It failed to safeguard itself before the last election, but it has an opportunity to take the right path here. The method of safeguarding this time is to test the pricing structure at the earliest opportunity. The pricing structure would have to be put in place and tested as soon as possible before any more public money is wasted and before the proposal is the subject of further competitive neutrality complaints. I make this call after consultation with the National Competition Council, and I will scrutinise the Government's response and actions closely.

In the bigger picture, the Territory's superannuation debt continues to be a concern. I am pleased that the Government has had to look at an alternative to paying it off in one hit. Whether the $300m repatriation put forward in this budget is the ideal model is yet to be proven. It is a situation the Assembly has to watch closely to ensure that we do find the right model and keep the massive debt in check. There are mechanisms in place to monitor the superannuation debt, and I look forward to the triennial review later this year for an update on the situation.

A topic which has raised concerns is the redundancies in both the Public Service and the teaching ranks. How these are executed is of concern to me. The Government should be on notice that 450 was the number identified in the budget. I will be keeping an eye on that figure over the next year, because any number above this would not be consistent with the transparent budget that the Government has promoted.

On the whole I am satisfied with the elements of law and order and emergency services. However, speed cameras are of concern. I would much prefer to see increased police numbers rather than replacing bodies with technology. I believe that the community would also not like to see speed cameras at the expense of police on the beat. I will be investigating this matter further before we formally vote on that proposal.

I would also like to flag my concern about another Bill linked to the budget. I note that $1.135m is set aside for victims of crime, on the provision that the Government's criminal injuries compensation reforms go ahead. I have concerns with the extent of those reforms and I would like to make that fact known.

We all know the huge problems in the area of health and the performance measures that have been set out in this budget - $11.8m in savings and $6m over the next two years devoted to reduced waiting lists. The onus is squarely on the Health Minister to achieve results.

On education, I am particularly interested to see how the CIT copes with its funding cuts. I will be investigating this further to see how it will affect the provision of vocational education and training in the ACT and whether the projected efficiency measures are workable. In other areas of education I would like to see more resources put towards

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