Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 5 Hansard (3 May) . . Page.. 1424 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

The problems for the Greens include the $250,000 for AFL football games in Canberra this year. I do wonder whether that is a wise use of public money. There is a big question mark over whether the $100,000 of additional funding for the Rally of Canberra is wise spending. There are very serious question marks over the way that this government enters into contracts with the private sector and its adherence almost to a philosophy of corporate welfare with very little accountability attached to it.

I do not know why the government could not have waited until the 2001-02 budget to set aside $300,000 for the digital divide program. Approximately $1 million has been set aside for police and emergency services that do not seem urgent and could have been dealt with in the 2001-02 budget. Equally, I do not know why appropriation of $3 million to Urban Services for street lighting and road improvement is so urgent. The Greens also will not be voting against this bill, but we are not happy with a number of elements of the package.

MR BERRY (11.57): Mr Speaker, as may well have been said, budgets are a time for oppositions to test the authority of the government. If for one moment Labor thought that it had the numbers to test the authority of the government on this document, it would do so. I heard my colleague Mr Quinlan make reference to the last time Labor voted against a budget. From sitting back and reflecting on that, I have now formed the view that the government was so keen to get rid of Mr Moore's injecting room proposal that they foresaw this vote as an opportunity to do so and jumped at it.

On reflection, I think that that is a pretty fair call. Given the circumstances that had developed around that injecting room proposal and that Labor had indicated that it was going to support it, the government was in fear that it would be supported in here. That was what sent the government running to the crossbench members to make sure that they ditched it. The government had sensed that its traditional conservative supporters were running away from it on this one and grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

Mr Speaker, this appropriation bill again draws attention to the litany of failures by this government which have impacted upon the people of Canberra. This approach to appropriation bills has its origins, as I recall, in an appropriation bill which was brought forward to deal with the illegal spending over the Bruce Stadium affair. These documents are really a certificate of incompetence. Each time one of them comes forward, we are reminded of that tawdry affair and its impact on the community then and for future generations. The sum of $80-odd million will be spent on that stadium, whereas we were told, as we all recall, that it would cost us no more than $12-odd million. Well, well, well! There was a second appropriation bill, a mini-budget, to patch up some unlawful expenditure.

Mr Speaker, peppered throughout this document are move events which show up the incompetence of this government and demonstrate to the people of the ACT that the time is past for this government. The members of this government are well and truly out of puff and the impact of their actions on the community has been so severe that it is time they paid the price. I am confident that they will.

Mr Speaker, on flicking through this supplementary budget paper, the first item that hit me in the eye when I came to page 9 was the one for $100,000 of additional funding for the Rally of Canberra. Who will forget the imbroglio over the claims and counterclaims

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .