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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2858 ..

MR SMYTH (continuing):

for the development of the economic white paper and said that in any case it should be prepared as soon as possible. The government's response was that it was not in agreement on the setting of a deadline and did not agree that it should be prepared as soon as possible, saying that the government had not set a deadline for the completion of the white paper as there were a number of complex issues that needed to be considered and, given the significance of the paper, it was preferable that the paper not be hurried and that sufficient time be taken to achieve a quality output.

Mr Speaker, what is a quality output? We have nothing to adjudge it against. We have no meaningful performance indicator. We have no idea of what the quality output may be. We do not know when it will arrive, although it appears that it will be about July of next year, and we are not sure of what effect it will have at that time. It is all great and well to stand up and say that you have to have a vision for the long term, you have to put forward a plan for the future and you have got to do the work, but what is the work going to achieve? We have been given absolutely no idea by the government. It was a good idea at the time to have an economic white paper, but they have absolutely no idea how to make it happen, when it should happen, and where, how and why it will achieve what it will achieve. That is why, based on the estimates given to the Estimates Committee, it will be available in about July of next year. It will take 20 months for the government to achieve what could possibly be nothing.

I think that summarises their approach to business in this city. They seem to be uninterested in business and they seem to be uninterested in tourism. We had the revelation today in question time that there will be a fence around Floriade for security reasons. That just points up the rhetoric which the Labor Party put forward in the lead-up to the election and which is not being carried on or carried out now that they are in government.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the other thing that is somewhat galling about their lazy approach to this budget is the delay factor. We are seeing delays in many projects that they seem unable to decide upon. A question in point is the National Convention Centre.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Your time has expired, Mr Smyth. Would you like to take your second 10 minutes.

MR SMYTH: Yes, Mr Deputy Speaker. The National Convention Centre is something that is very important to the future of the city and is something that needs to be acted upon, but what are we having? We are having another review. I think that the epitaph of this government will be: "We didn't do a whole lot, but at least we had another review."

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (4.45): I wish to say a few words in closing the debate on my amendment. We know that the opposition is riven with division and we know that if it could actually get three or four of its members together in one place it might straighten itself out. It has nearly as many factions as the federal Democrats. But it was refreshing to hear agreement in the criticism of the budget, agreement only insofar as everybody said the same thing-nothing. There has not been any significant criticism of the budget registered today.

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