Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 8 Hansard (27 June) . . Page.. 2339 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
what basis were these savings achieved? Did you examine each department individually, or did you apply a percentage cut across all agencies?
MR QUINLAN: The answer to that is a bit of both. What we did-as you are well aware as you have asked questions about it before-was ask departments to identify 2 per cent productivity savings, which we thought were necessary to try to come up with a balanced budget. But we did the reverse examination then and looked at all of those things that might have come forward but were unacceptable as cuts. Let us take a prime example-the police, which are on a contract. The flexibility within the police force to render 2 per cent savings is almost zero.
We took what I think is a reasonably sensible approach. Let me share some of our experiences with you. A couple of Trojan horses turned up-things that departments served up but knew we would not accept. We went through the process fairly thoroughly.
MR HUMPHRIES: I ask a supplementary question. Do you claim to have maintained education spending in real terms, when you added $5.9 million for the real-terms funding guarantee and then reduced the education allocation by $1.2 million for a productivity saving? Is this government the first government since self-government not to have maintained education funding in real terms?
MR QUINLAN: I might have a bit each way on the answer to that one as well. Let me answer by saying we have made no cuts in real terms to schooling. We may have made some cuts within the department of education overall. But, as you are probably aware, Mr Humphries, this government is far keener than was yours to ensure that precious resources, if they are available, are applied within the school gate. That is what this budget embodies.
MS DUNDAS: My question is for the Chief Minister in his capacity as Attorney-General. The budget delivered on Tuesday contained much more money for the Director of Public Prosecutions. Given, as revealed in today's Canberra Times, that we have the highest proportion of juveniles in detention in Australia, is it not time that your government prioritised prevention over prosecution?
MR STANHOPE: Should we prioritise prevention over prosecution? I guess there are a couple of ways I can interpret your question, Ms Dundas. If you are suggesting we should not prosecute criminals, then I guess we go to a debate about that. I tend to think that if people are engaging in criminal behaviour or activity the arrangements we have in place in relation to prosecutions are appropriate. We have a prosecution policy, and issues around prosecutions are issues that are decided by the Director of Public Prosecutions. I think that is appropriate. I know Mr Stefaniak, as an ex-prosecutor, would join with me in agreeing that it is vital that the Director of Public Prosecutions maintain his independence of action and decision-making, along with the police, in relation to when criminal actions and activity will be pursued by way of prosecution.
Mr Stefaniak: Quite so, Chief Minister.
MR STANHOPE: You would agree with that, Mr Stefaniak?