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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1647 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Mr Speaker, there we have temperate language-treated in a fair and balanced way. Imagine today if the present government came down in this place and said, "We're cutting every agency by 2 per cent. We're not telling you where we're going to cut or how we're going to produce that saving. We're just doing a 2 per cent across-the-board cut." Imagine what an estimates committee led by Mr Quinlan would say about that, but compare that with what the Estimates Committee led by Ms Szuty did say about that in 1994.

Mr Speaker, I am sorry to cast aspersions on the work of a number of people in this exercise. My view is that this report is nothing other than trash. It is disappointing. It is a waste of the territory's money, and is not what the territory pays for. The taxpayer of the ACT pays for quality work in this place, work that will be useable in the sense of being able to be taken up by public service and others, analysed, used to improve the bottom line for the territory and the result of these processes. You cannot say, by any stretch of the imagination, that this document, replete with bile, dripping with bile in virtually every paragraph, is designed to achieve that goal-and indeed it does not.

MR BERRY (3.58): I must say I was almost driven to belly laughter by the mock indignation of Mr Humphries and the dodgy comparisons that he was drawing between this Estimates Committee report and an estimates committee report in 1994.

Some interesting things that would amuse members, and probably interest them: of course, things were different in 1994; it was a Labor government, and they had less to criticise-far less to criticise. There were no hospital implosions. There were no Bruce Stadiums. There were no Feel the Power campaigns. There were no Hall Kinlyside land deals. There were no Futsal slabs.

Mr Humphries: VITAB hogged all the headlines; there was no room for anything else.

MR BERRY: There was none of this. Mr Humphries interjects, "VITAB." He would swap any of his messes for a dozen VITABs. I mean, what a joke! And Mr Humphries might also recall one point in the life of self-government when the whole of the Assembly made up the Estimates Committee and the Liberals had the numbers. I can tell you that the Estimates Committee report on that occasion was a pretty bitter and twisted affair. The stark difference here was that the Estimates Committee was examining a Labor budget and this one is examining a Liberal budget, with the wisdom of hindsight over six years. And nobody could be blamed for coming to very cynical conclusions about the intentions of that lot opposite.

Mr Humphries was very careful not to draw those proper distinctions about the matters which were under consideration at the time. I was just looking through the recommendations of the Estimates Committee report. In recommendation 54, the committee recommended that the government increase the recruiting of fire-fighters and so on and so forth. It was a good recommendation and it punched a hole in the government's management of the ACT budget.

Why? Because the government had failed to keep up with recruitment in the ACT fire service. It failed to fill vacancies in his own ranks, up to about 50 jobs, over a long period of years. And, once forced into a position to do this recruitment, the government will now take 15 months to fill those jobs. That is in a period when unemployment has

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