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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (16 May) . . Page.. 1693 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Coincidentally, last year was an election year for the federal parliament and an election year for the ACT Assembly. This year is not an election year in the federal jurisdiction and is not an election year in the ACT. Last year the federal government brought down an election budget replete with what one would call middle-class welfare and vote-buying measures.

Mr Humphries: It obviously worked.

MR QUINLAN: It obviously worked in conjunction with the Tampa incident and the dishonest children overboard exercise.

Last year the ACT government brought down an election budget also. It quite clearly had the intention of spending or committing every available dollar. It obviously did not work.

The federal budget, from the ACT perspective, is "underwhelming" and, from the general community perspective, quite disturbing. I looked at a number of dimensions of this year's federal budget from the ACT perspective. First, I looked at the general economic predictions and conditions which might spill over into the ACT. I hold the theory that our economic fortunes are tied to the economic fortunes of the much larger nation that surrounds us.

I looked at capital projects to see what injection of moneys will come into the ACT by virtue of various construction works and acquisition works. I looked at the grant funding that will flow to the ACT. It is clear that our fortunes over time have changed more because of a change in grants funding than because of any other influence in the ACT since self-government. I looked at public service numbers in the ACT to see whether there will be cutbacks in the public sector that will affect the ACT. I looked at the fallout for the Canberra community.

As for the economic predictions, I was quite pleased to see the federal Treasury bullish about economic growth. Predicted conditions are generally paralleled by the predictions in the ACT territory. As I said, I think we are tied to national fortunes.

I turn to capital projects. When we get our little bundle of books for the federal budget at about 7.30 on budget night, we also get a couple of letters that I want to refer to. The first is a letter from Mr John Howard telling us various things about the budget and what his government is doing for us. He mentioned in that letter that there would be considerable expenditure, some $65 million, on the Australian Institute of Sport. That is great news for Canberra, we are told. However, that expenditure does not commence until 2003-04. The expenditure committed for 2003-04 is not much more than $3 million. So plans for expansion of the AIS do not kick in until 2004-05. The influence of that project is a long way off. That should be recognised if that project is to be hailed.

Some cynics amongst us have said, "What a coincidence, by the way, that there is this long-finger promise of development of the Australian Institute of Sport at about the time we are debating the positioning of a road through that precinct." Let us hope that there is absolutely no connection between the two events. I must refer to Mr Bartels' assertion that you do not build an institute of sport near a freeway. I think the planned easement or path of the freeway was in place long before the AIS. That should be noted. The AIS has been positioned near the planned road. Yet now, because the AIS is there, the road

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