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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (2 July) . . Page.. 2197 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

I have to say, particularly to members on the crossbench, that when you listen to Opposition members they often sound so convincing, particularly Mr Stanhope, who insists still that he was right. (Extension of time granted) This highlights how carefully you must assess what they are saying when they say it with so much confidence and they spin things to such an extent that they become quite twisted. I think we have seen it in a series of examples over the last month or so. This is just another one.

I want to stay focused on health. Members raised a series of issues. I hope I have addressed each one of them. I have attempted to address each one. I emphasise again that if members have specific issues they wish to raise they can approach my office. We attempt to respond to them as quickly as possible, and we will continue to do so. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to those issues that members have raised.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Part 9 - Department of Urban Services

Proposed expenditure - Urban Services, $300,452,000 (comprising net cost of outputs, $223,157,000; capital injection, $76,273,000; and payments on behalf of the Territory, $1,022,000)

MR HARGREAVES (5.40): With our commitment to great municipal services in this town, which is essentially half of what this portfolio is all about, it is noteworthy that the department's total appropriation is $300.5m. Measure that against the appropriation for the Chief Minister's Department of $121,200,000, and there seems to be a priority problem here. We are more concerned about things like the very high speed train project proving process, $1.5m; interactive gaming, $0.8m; initial security costs for the Olympic Games of $0.5m, with $3.2m in 2001; and centenary of federation celebrations, $250,000. They are parties, in my view, with the exception of a very fast train, which I happen to support. We seem to see a lot of parties for quite a lot of money but we only see $300m for the Department of Urban Services. I think the priorities are upside down.

I am disappointed with the Urban Services component in the budget. It is budget dedicated to outsourcing or, as the Government likes to say, market testing. "Market testing" is a fancy term for what is becoming the inevitable in the Public Service under this Government. This Government will claim that market testing is needed to see whether the service is competing and performing efficiently. But we really know that it is just a process which delays the inevitable for many services. The Government likes to prolong the agony before they stick the "For Sale" sign out the front.

This year under attack are horticultural and cleaning services. I have had numerous people employed in those industries complain to me that they are not getting a fair shake. The most recent was a person formerly employed by CityScape who had hoped to score a job with Excel from Melbourne, only to be told, "Too bad, mate. We do not need you".

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