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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 5 Hansard (6 May) . . Page.. 1566 ..

MS CARNELL: Okay. It would be nice. We agree that it would be nice, and we are doing it. We are bringing the budget into the black. We are doing it by balancing our expenditure reduction, except that even with our expenditure reduction our expenses increase by 3 per cent, or just under one per cent in real terms. We are increasing our revenue by 9 per cent, of which about 4 per cent is own-source revenue. Most of that is payroll tax, so most of it is not new taxes, as Ms Tucker would like to suggest to members of the community. The vast percentage of it is basically business tax - clubs and payroll tax - not tax on people who cannot afford it, because it is a caring budget. It is a budget that balances expenditure and revenue and comes up with a position that will deliver an operating surplus in 2000-01, the budget after this one. That is a pretty good outcome.

What has come out of this debate today is that those opposite have no answers at all, not one. They do not want to reduce staff. They do not want to increase taxes. They want lots of extra expenditure. They do not want to sell anything, but they want to reduce our operating loss, as Mr Quinlan says, to a surplus by 2001.

We will be waiting with bated breath, but I suspect that we will be waiting for a very long time, to learn how the Opposition plans to do that. Maybe Mr Stanhope will tell everybody in his budget speech at lunchtime tomorrow. We will be very keen to listen to that. He did not do it today. In fact, he came up with not one answer. If you can show how to do it without decreasing any staff or increasing any taxes, I will be very happy to clap. Again the Opposition shows that it has not one answer. All they can do is criticise.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.27): Pursuant to standing order 174, I move:

That the Appropriation Bill 1999-2000 be referred to the Select Committee on Estimates 1999-2000.

Question resolved in the affirmative.


Suspension of Standing and Temporary Orders

Motion (by Mr Berry ) put:

That so much of the standing and temporary orders be suspended as would prevent Notices 1 and 2, Assembly business, relating to the establishment of a Select Committee on Government Contracts and the referral of the operation of the Financial Management Act 1996 to the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio being called on forthwith and in seriatim.

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