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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (13 December) . . Page.. 267 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

more than accounted for by the increased cost between that first year and that second year in the nurses' EBA. That means that, taking into account the money that you have quarantined for the nurses, there will be, as Mr Smyth has said clearly in this place on several occasions, a reduction in spending on the Canberra Hospital on these figures in 2003-04, because a provision made by the former government to meet cost pressures of $2.7 million is to be discontinued.

That was denied in question time earlier this week, Mr Speaker, but I invite members to look at the figures which I have been provided with by the Treasurer, which demonstrate very clearly that that will be the case. The government has the option of changing its budget parameters in next year's budget; but, on the present set of figures, let us be under no doubt whatsoever that the base funding for the Canberra Hospital is being cut in 2003-04.

Mr Quinlan: By how much, do you think?

MR HUMPHRIES: It is being cut by $2.7 million. That is based on your figures.

Mr Quinlan: And that is the sum total of what you have said, is it?

MR HUMPHRIES: No, it is not the sum total, Mr Quinlan, but go back and read it.

The third point I wish to make about the second appropriation bill is that it does not provide funding for all of the government's promises at the ACT election recently. It provides for only some of them; hence, we will be having a third appropriation bill later this financial year, early in the next calendar year. I look forward to seeing what the third appropriation bill does to the territory's bottom line. If, as the Treasurer is insisting in this place from outside it, there is some sort of black hole looming and there is a possibility of the territory being in deficit as from the end of this financial year, you would hardly think that pushing up your expenditure at that time is such a good idea. To take it on a personal note, if you lose your job, you do not go out and buy a new car, which is what the Treasurer is talking about.

If the Treasurer really does believe this rhetoric about a loss for us looming over the horizon, I suggest that it would be a more prudent course of action to hold back on the promises that he is making in this bill and, presumably, the third appropriation bill. The fact that he is not would suggest to me that perhaps some of what is being said about this matter is not entirely right.

MS DUNDAS (5.28): Since this bill relates to a number of different funding items, I will confine my comments to the broad categories of items to which it refers. Some of the items provided for in this bill relate to commitments made by the previous government, including tourism initiatives and the ACT's contribution to a national fire ant eradication program, and to that extent I recognise that it is reasonable for this chamber to assist in providing a smooth transition between governments.

Some of the items relate to election commitments made by the current government before election day. Some of them are worthy issues and I hope that this Assembly will discuss the implementation of some of them at a later stage. Whilst I recognise the need for government to fund these election promises, I am wary of the debate that has been

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