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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 157 ..

MS TUCKER (4.59): I am very concerned about this piece of legislation. I think Mr Osborne has been here long enough. He has had the opportunity since he introduced this bill to have learnt a lot more. We are seeing a much better quality of work coming from Mr Osborne now. I think it is very concerning if members do support this. I understand that Labor is trying to go into damage control with it in case it actually gets up. I am really surprised that Mr Humphries would consider supporting this. I certainly could not vote for it because I think it is bad legislation.

You do not make law that has these kinds of statements. How is this going to be adjudicated upon if it is thought to be wrong? I do not know who is deciding, as Mr Kaine said. Mr Kaine said it really well, actually. Who decides what is prudent?

At 5.00 pm the debate was interrupted in accordance with standing order 34. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.

MS TUCKER: How would you test this? Are you going to be asking the courts to actually look at this? There are no penalties in it. The whole thing is just quite shocking, and I sincerely hope that it does not get majority support in this place.

MR SMYTH (Minister for Urban Services, Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (5.01): Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the government has always supported the principles of fiscal responsibility as outlined in the amendments proposed by Mr Osborne. When this government was elected in 1995 we inherited a financial disaster. Labor's legacy was one of budget deficits and mounting debt. More and more of the territory's scarce revenue had to be used for servicing debt instead of being used to provide services to community. The people of Canberra should never forget those years of irresponsibility and fiscal neglect. They were proof of the adage that Labor cannot manage money.

Our government was elected on a platform of responsible fiscal management and eliminating the operating loss left to us by Labor. We made it clear that the only way to improve services and raise their quality was to get the territory's finances in order. We knew that without good housekeeping it was not possible for the government to do the job it was elected to do.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, in line with those policies we embrace the principles outlined in this bill. While the Chief Minister, on behalf of the government, will move a few minor amendments, we fully support the intent of the bill and welcome this move to put sound financial management principles into legislation.

The 2000-01 budget shows that the ACT is expected to achieve an operating surplus of $4.2 million, meaning that the government will have met one of its key result areas-eliminating the territory's operating loss ahead of schedule. A further improvement on that is expected in the coming financial year and across the forward years, largely due to sound, experienced, and responsible management.

Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have also shown our commitment to addressing our outstanding liabilities, in particular the accrued superannuation. Again, the 2000-01 budget shows our commitment to this. It has been outlined in the 2000-01 budget that

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