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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 158 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

there will be an increased appropriation to the superannuation provision account totalling $120 million across the budget period. This is on top of the $300 million provided in the 1999-2000 budget, and the expected $119 million from the equalisation payment from the ActewAGL merger.

I would like to point out, however, that implementing this financial plan to balance the budget, to make up for Labor's past mistakes and to return benefits to the community as well as further to reduce the superannuation liabilities, does require the support of the Assembly. That means, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that members of the Assembly will have to support the government in making tough financial decisions-financial decisions that will increase the operating surplus and that will allow us to have balanced budgets; financial decisions that will protect the territory from the substantial risk that it faces in holding substantially unfunded superannuation liabilities; and financial decisions that change the financial structure of the territory.

What we see here in the amendments proposed by Mr Osborne are very much in line with our own stated policy position. While supporting the intent of the amendments, the government has some concerns with the wording of the amendments. We will talk about those when we get to the detail stage.

The Osborne amendments to the Financial Management Act, supported by a few minor changes in the government's amendments, will again highlight the failings and the inadequacies of Labor's financial management. Now, what do we know about Labor and their financial management? Well, not a great deal because in six years they have shown us very little to give us reason to believe that they have changed their ways. We must go back to the failed "Working Capital" of Mr Berry which was, I think, so comprehensively rejected by the voters at the last election. We have seen nothing since then to indicate that they have changed.

We believe that what Mr Osborne seeks to do here with his amendments to the FMA is worthy of support. We will put forward a few amendments to make it even better. We hope that the Assembly will take this on board. We hope the Assembly will understand that one of the things the people of the ACT want is the sort of financial management that we have given over the last six years. Labor has proven themselves to be unable to deliver.

Mr Quinlan: Ha, ha. Get beyond petty cash and you would be in trouble, sonny.

MR SMYTH: I hear the embarrassed chuckle of Mr Quinlan who hasn't shown any financial leadership in the last three years. We have heard nothing from him. We know nothing of his position and we know nothing of what they will do in the lead-up to the election. At least his federal colleagues and the Leader of the Opposition in the big house are starting to put their policies out. Perhaps Mr Quinlan could follow that example as well.

MR OSBORNE (5.07), in reply: Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, I thank members for their support, I think. This piece of legislation is just about principles. We did receive a letter from the Auditor-General, Mr Parkinson, in relation to this bill. It was a general letter of support in which he said he actually had no problem with the term "prudent", which seems to have caused some people in this place to giggle.

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