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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2846 ..

MR CORBELL (continuing):

OECD recommended that this city lacked and what it needed, and that is what this government has sought to respond to and has provided the leadership on to date.

These are big projects. They are complex tasks and they are complex issues. It would be unwise in the extreme simply to say they will all be in one single document. What you need to do is break the work down, focus on the key elements and then bring it together. And that is what this government is doing. This is about the spatial plan, the social plan and the economic process.

I think Ms Dundas is wrong when she suggests that this is a missed opportunity. Far from it: it is the first opportunity in the history of self-government to deliver a project which brings together the social, economic and environmental aspects that underpin how our city will grow, develop and change in the coming decades and, indeed, the next 30 years.

MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (4.00): I want to come back to a few issues about the Chief Minister's Department which I think deserve some comment. I was struck by the comment Ms Tucker made in the course of the debate about this in many ways not being the budget which defines the agenda of the Labor government, that this document is only a partly formed expression of the government's intention because there is so much other work going on which will ultimately lead to other big decisions being made. I think there is some truth to that statement.

The economic white paper, which I think Ms Tucker referred to, must be a pretty significant stone-a cornerstone, you might even say-in that edifice, but it will not be available until sometime next year. It may be that we will not see the full shape of this government's agenda until the next budget. I have to say that, from my point of view, that is a curious development. This government had cooled its heels in opposition for nearly seven years and I would have expected to have a rather more fully-articulated vision of what was going to happen, what was going to be done, in this first Labor budget in eight years. I don't think we are seeing that.

In fact, in many areas the question of what the Labor Party will do is highly fractured. Education is perhaps the best example where pivotal decisions, key decisions, about the future direction in education hang on an inquiry, the results of which will not be acted upon until the government will have been in office for more than half of its term. That is, if a recommendation or report comes down in October/November, whatever, of this year, it will then, as we have heard from the minister for education, go over to the 2003-04 budget to be implemented. By the time that comes down and is passed by the Assembly we will be halfway through the life of this government before we see the detail of what the direction might be. I think that is a very strange reflection on a government which has had so long to shape its agenda.

My colleagues and I have used a number of terms to characterise this budget. Terms like "lazy", "secretive" and "lacking in vision" are particularly significant in indicating what I think are the main messages coming out of this document. I want to refer to a number of initiatives, a number of non-initiatives, in the Chief Minister's Department which I think illustrate that point very well.

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