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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 867 ..

MRS CROSS (continuing):

Mr Speaker, it is now their turn. I trust the government has already discovered the vast difference between being in opposition, and promising to fix everything in sight, and the reality that there is no quick or simple solution on the public housing front. Having heard years of rhetoric, the community is now looking expectantly to this budget for the new government to fix up public housing, as was promised.

Fortunately, provided they do not stuff it up, they can go some way towards doing so, on the back of the good foundation laid by the previous government. The opportunity to complete the process is not yet lost-it is not yet dead in the water.

On a final note, the committee heard evidence of ongoing pressure in the area of crisis accommodation, for both men and women, and their children. We also heard of the growing problem of elder abuse and a variety of accommodation service models to address these needs. Community expectations for the government to act quickly and substantially are also high in this area.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (5.41): Mr Speaker, there are just a couple of points I would like to make.

I am sorry that that consultation document did not go out earlier. The only excuse I can offer is that I have given my Treasury officers too much to do over the last couple of months.

I think all members have had available to them the findings of the Commission of Audit. I think the Commission of Audit had a fairly comprehensive indication of any changes to the bottom line. I trust Mrs Cross has now got to the point where she can actually read the budget paper. I think she described the consultation document as useless anyway.

Mrs Cross: As a shambles.

MR QUINLAN: I think you said useless. I would like you, in the future, to take note and let me know what else you would like in such a document. I don't promise to supply what you would like in that document, but I'll bleeding well tell you why you cannot have it. I echo your sentiments-we think consultation is a good thing.

I will hand you another challenge. Given that this document seemed to be important, tell me, at any time between now and the adoption of the budget this year, what would have changed in your report today, had you had more information.

I offer that challenge to anybody who feels that their deep and meaningful deliberations were somehow inhibited by the fact that we have had a fractional change. Given that we turn over a couple of billion dollars or more, a few million dollars at the margin seems to have assumed tremendous importance, when looking at the matters over which you deliberated.

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