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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 1925 ..

Thursday, 1 July 1999


MR SPEAKER (Mr Cornwell) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.


Report on the Appropriation Bill 1999-2000 - Government Response

MS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (10.32): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Government's response to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 1999-2000 on the Appropriation Bill 1999-2000 which was presented to the Legislative Assembly on 22 June 1999. I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

The Government has accepted 43, that is, 33 in full and 10 in part, of the committee's 68 recommendations and we have provided comprehensive reasons why we are unwilling to support the other 25 recommendations contained in the report.

Mr Speaker, I have to state at the outset that the Government is disappointed with many aspects of the committee's report. Our disappointment arises from not only what is included in the report, but also what is not included in the report. Mr Speaker, in its discussion on the aims of the budget at paragraphs 2.1 to 2.9, the committee has asserted that the Territory is facing a growing social deficit. The committee has attributed that to "the Government's single focus on a balanced budget regardless of the social implications". That is disappointing, Mr Speaker. The Government categorically disagrees with those assertions.

The facts are that this Government has a proven record in addressing social issues in a positive manner. This Government has a proven record in balanced policies and visions. Just look at our key result areas - all of them, not just the first one of the 11. Just look at the measures of success against which we will measure ourselves. Mr Speaker, these certainly do not lack balance. The facts are, Mr Speaker, that no hard evidence was produced by the committee to support these assertions. It is untrue to assert that the Government's commitment to eliminate the burden of an operating loss for future generations is its sole preoccupation. In fact, the Government has been conscious to provide additional services in areas of critical need and to improve the efficiency of existing services.

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