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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2954 ..

MR QUINLAN: Thank you, Mr Hargreaves, for an excellent question in light of some comments made on radio this morning by a former Chief Minister. I will try not to anticipate the budget debate, Mr Speaker, but I think it is important to say a few words in this place, given that we have a Liberal Party, an opposition, that has at last found financial rigour as a contribution to good governance. They have found terms of reference, they have found selection criteria and they have found precise timelines: the change has been miraculous. Of course, they are in opposition and it is important to know whence they came.

A former Chief Minister, Kate Carnell, said on radio this morning, amongst other things, "Look, the chequebook never worked, Chris. I have to say we didn't try terribly hard." I have to say, for the sake of the territory, thank God she did not try very hard, Mr Speaker, because we have seen some rather large licks over time. I just happen to have in front of me a bit of the history of the business incentive scheme from that time when they were not trying very hard.

Of course, we only looked over those that really needed it, like Ansett for $2.3 million worth and another $1.5 million for payroll tax. Telstra-struggling, certainly struggling in the bush-were given $1 million in cash or kind, plus payroll tax relief, $2.5 million. Quite clearly, they would not have come here otherwise! Do not forget Impulse, of course-$8 million; $2 million in payroll tax. With EDS we struck a deal for $35 million worth of payroll tax relief. But we were not trying! Olivetti, another little Aussie battler, got $90,000. And who can forget Capital Plastics, which took the money and ran? So we didn't try very hard!

Mr Hargreaves: Thank goodness for that.

MR QUINLAN: That is right. We were really into business. We were into business rigour and we saw business plans. I would love to see the business plan for CanDeliver as it would have been a ripper. I hope that it covered more than the V8 car race business plan and I hope that it had a bit more rigour in it than the business plan for the Bruce Stadium, now renamed the Canberra Stadium to protect the innocent.

We will not have to do a lot to improve on that, but we will still try to do a lot more than it would take just to beat that record when they weren't really trying. Let me repeat to this Assembly that this government has actually put up resources to support the centre of excellence. The previous government claimed to support it, signed papers well over a year ago-some time in January 2001-and brought down a budget in May 2001 with a zero allowance. They were going to do that.

Mr Speaker, we have also instituted a knowledge bank. Let me say that we have run our first seminars for access to the knowledge bank and there has been an enthusiastic response. Of course, in the operation of the knowledge bank, there are considerable hurdles to overcome before funding can be received, but it will assist in the growth of business in the ACT. We will institute this year a small business employment ready program, because we believe in growing our own businesses, our home businesses, not slinging money at the poor little multinationals that seem to have benefited over the years. Let me also assure the Assembly that we will continue to provide business

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