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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (14 February) . . Page.. 159 ..

MR OSBORNE (continuing):

I do thank members. It is an old piece of legislation. As I said, it is just about basic frameworks for the government to act within. I thank the majority of members for their support, and I thank Ms Tucker, Mr Kaine and Mr Quinlan for those kind words about my work.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

MR QUINLAN (5.08): I move amendment No 1 circulated in my name [see schedule 2 at page ]. As I said, I do not think this legislation is really as serious as the speeches we have heard from the other side of the house would indicate. I have to say I shudder when I hear Mr Smyth attempting to speak on finances.

Mr Humphries: Everybody else except for you gives you the same reaction, Mr Quinlan. Face facts.

MR QUINLAN: The man has given only one speech in this house. He has given it lots of times but it is the one speech. Referring to my amendment, I wish to reword it so that it makes a little bit more sense in accounting terms. I wish to see that it governs the general government sector and that we are not in fact placing a second layer over the operations of our territory owned corporations. The term "General Government Sector" is introduced to ensure that if the Treasurer is doing his budget then it is the Treasurer's bit that he can take care of. Given that we have territory owned corporations with boards of management and that they have their own charters, their own rules to work under and their own act, I think the bill would benefit from that particular change.

I also want to change some of the wording to ensure that we are not constraining ourselves. The idea at the end of the day is that we manage the territory. We balance the budget over the long term, and I presume we apply the maximum available resources to service and benefit the community. So you will find in my amendment reference to applying all available revenue to the maximum benefit of people. That has to be a target as well. If we become too focused on just the budget bottom line every year, we may well be doing someone a disservice. I repeat, just in case it's needed, that we need to balance the budget over the long term.

Mr Smyth and the government across there have re-amended the history of what Labor did in another time and another place. I think we should have a debate about where the ACT was at the beginning of self-government. What was the purpose of transitional funding? Transitional funding was supplied because it was fully anticipated that the ACT government would operate in deficit in its early years. We can look at the progressive increases in revenues and taxes. We can look at the economic cycle that the ACT has been through, largely influenced, I have to say, by the ascendancy of the Howard government in its early years. I think you will find that the territory's financial position has improved progressively since the first local government was appointed.

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