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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2794 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

I appreciate the work of the Select Committee on Estimates and its support staff. I also appreciate the hearing given my officers and me at the estimates hearings.

I commend the government's response to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Smyth ) adjourned to a later hour.

Revenue Legislation Amendment Bill 2002

[Cognate bill:

Appropriation Bill 2002-2003

Cognate paper:

Estimates 2002-2003-Standing Committee-report-government response]

Debate resumed from 25 June 2002, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SPEAKER: It might be a cautious approach to deal with this bill now, and then we can deal with the report of the Select Committee on Estimates and the Appropriation Bill cognately. The options available to the chamber are to have a narrower debate in relation to this matter or to increase the range of the debate to include the Appropriation Bill and the Estimates Committee report. Is it the wish of the Assembly to debate this order of the day concurrently with the government's response to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates and Appropriation Bill 2002-2003? There being no objection, that course will be followed.

MR SMYTH (10.47): I would be delighted to make a contribution to this wide-ranging debate. This is the newly elected government's first budget. It is with some dismay that I read a press release put out by the Chief Minister on Sunday concerning the government setting its own priorities. It says:

"In our Budget considerations hundreds of funding bids failed to get up because there is just not enough to do everything.

"For instance, we had to knock back a bid for a long overdue $5 million refurbishment of the paediatrics ward at Canberra Hospital.

"Mental health, disabilities, cancer services and elective surgery all need more money. Dozens of major education initiatives, which we support, could not be funded.

"Thirty thousand people in the ACT live in poverty.

Those comments from the Chief Minister on the Sunday before we debate his first budget tell me that the government suffers from an extreme lack of vision. This is a government that does not know what it is about. This is a government that, through the budget process, has not delivered for the people of Canberra the best outcomes for the money it will spend.

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