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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 2653 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

government has come in, election commitments were made and published and the projected bottom line for those commitments was also published, commented upon and debated.

As with every year, the room to move is generally not wide, and I think we appreciate that there will be frustration. There were $53 million worth of suggestions in the 33 submissions that the government received directly. If you extend that by the commitments specifically mentioned in the minimum of 55 submissions additionally received by the committees, there is clearly going to be a level of claim and probable disappointment each year. Nevertheless, the lesson we learned from however we like to describe what started out as the draft budget process-and I do not intend to go through analysis of that again-was that the various organisations that appeared before committees appreciated the opportunity to do so and to do so publicly. Should they have had suggestions and particular points that they wished to make, they were able make them in a public forum.

There is very little evidence to support any notion that the draft budget process has had significant impact upon the budget of the moment. It certainly does have an impact upon government thinking-past government, present government-as we relate to the organisations and parties that appear before the committee. So, this government does intend to continue that process.

On the value of a document, although it can be used to say, "We did not know what we were doing"-and standing committees made the same observation when the Liberals were in government and we were the majority on those committees-I can appreciate, from having been on the committees, the difficulty you have in trying to frame the sensible suggestions that come forward when you know that in virtually all cases, if they are substantial suggestions, they will have a substantial price tag. The obvious question is: whence comes the money? But I guess that is part of the process.

I have said that in the summary of the government's response to the various reports, we expressed our thanks to the committees and to all of the organisations that put forward submissions, that put forward submissions and appeared and that put forward direct submissions to government. Quite a number of the 33 organisations that put forward submissions did make appointments to come and talk directly to me or to other ministers-but not all. The opportunity was there, as Mr Stanhope has pointed out frequently. Our door is always open. All I can do is thank Mr Humphries, thank the Assembly for comments, thank the committees and the people who served the committees and thank the organisations that contributed to this process.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Legal Affairs-Standing Committee

Report No 3

Debate resumed from 27 June 2002, on motion by Mr Stefaniak:

That the report be noted.

Debate (on motion by Mr Corbell ) adjourned to the next sitting.

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