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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (11 April) . . Page.. 1058 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

However, when it came to the detail on this, that is, whether you are really standing by the claim that this is going to be an extra $27 million for education on top of what the previous government was spending, suddenly the answers were much less specific: "Sorry, you will have to wait." I think those questions need to be answered, and I think that the government has failed to do so in this response to the report. That is most unfortunate.

I repeat that the opposition does not oppose this legislation, but believes that it highlights some serious inadequacies in the government's process, particularly as far as the production of documents and the answering of questions are concerned. Given the lecturing and the hectoring that went on over what the government said were inadequate previous budget consultation processes, I think that this document and this process fall very far short of what you might expect if you have read the rhetoric in the Labor Party over the last six years. However, again I say that this appropriation bill should pass.

MS DUNDAS (5.53): I rise to add the Australian Democrats' support to Appropriation Bill (No 3). It contains funding for the Office of Sustainability which, as I have said, is an initiative that we do support. We think it is a very good initiative on the part of the government.

However, I do echo Mr Humphries' concerns about the lack of information from the office available to feed into the 2002-2003 budget. We should be capitalising on this initiative as soon as possible, and using it to govern how we spend our money over the next year, as well as into the future.

There is debate raging across this chamber about the report of the Estimates Committee and the response to that report. I believe that having the Estimates Committee was important and that it allowed us to explore a number of financial issues in relation to the territory. It is not important, however, at this stage, to continue the debate about who is the better treasurer.

The report did raise a number of important recommendations, not just about Appropriation Bill (No 3), but about the financial management of the territory, how estimates committees conduct themselves, and how governments conduct themselves in relation to those estimates committees. I believe that some of the answers supplied were useful and some of the answers supplied lacked detail. I will be exploring the issues that concern me about the government's response by the Treasurer to the select committee's report. That being said, I repeat that this appropriation bill has the support of the Australian Democrats and I trust that it will go through today.


(5.55): I will make a few comments, first on the bill itself, and then on the report and the response to it. This bill provides appropriation of $19.5 million for some 19 items, and only one of these is for an election commitment of the ALP: funding for the establishment of the Office of Sustainability. The Greens are obviously strong supporters of the concept of an Office of Sustainability, so this money is welcome. I wondered why it was left out of the government's previous appropriation bill, which included funding for a range of the ALP's election commitments. I hope this is not a sign that the government sees the office as a lower priority. The money involved-

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