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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1057 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

predict certain factors that occur from time to time. When they occur, you need to deal with them by moving funds, and sometimes a Treasurer's Advance is not appropriate for that.

At the very least, if a fourth appropriation is not required, a much more fulsome use of the Treasurer's Advance will be needed than has been admitted to in this appropriation. The Treasurer said that he did not believe it was appropriate to use the TA, and that he believed it was more appropriate to put an appropriation bill before the house.

Mr Quinlan: And you are confirming it for me, brother.

MR HUMPHRIES: I do not think we have had adequate time to examine your response.

Mr Quinlan: Response to what?

MR HUMPHRIES: To our recommendations. I think that a better course of action would be to have the matter dealt with at a later time. However, the Assembly has decided on that and I will not therefore reflect on the vote of the Assembly.

I think that the $27 million extra for education is an issue that should be clarified quickly and urgently by this government, and I think that that, by itself, is a good reason why this Assembly should not be passing this bill this afternoon.

Mr Quinlan: We do not share that opinion, so maybe you could tell us why, while you are up there.

MR HUMPHRIES: Because you have asked for extra money, including extra money in education-although that came as something of a surprise to the education minister when he was actually before the Estimates Committee, I might say. The committee asked, quite reasonably, how that fits in with your plans for an extra $27 million for education and with your plans to ask the education department to offer up, at least hypothetically at this stage, 2 per cent savings across the board in education. Education makes up $400 million, or something like that, of the territory's annual budget. It is not likely to escape attention when it comes to making across-the-board savings.

I and others have pointed out that, if you make a cut of 2 per cent to your base education budget, or even of something less, but still a significant proportion, and you then add $27 million, to be generous let's say over four years, you will not have an extra $27 million going into education.

The government responded to that question by saying, "We do not have to tell you what we are going to do with our budget before it is brought down," but of course it did tell us. It did tell us what it was going to do with its budget before it was brought down, when it said that there would be an extra $27 million for education. The education minister was absolutely categorical about it-absolutely crystal clear-and he spelt it out with nauseating repetition, before and after the election.

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