Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 5 Hansard (8 May) . . Page.. 1756 ..
MRS BURKE (continuing):
community and we need to be listening to and consulting with the whole community-a process which, by and large, sadly was bypassed before and during the development of this budget. That is something that we should not move away from. We need to look at why that happened and make sure that we engage the community.
If we have not had full and frank input from the wider community, surely that will mean that this government has not hit the mark in targeting and allocating its funding. That is sad for me. It is a missed opportunity. There has been some attempt to tackle the homelessness situation, a most welcome boost indeed. I hope to see a continued improvement in our homeless situation. I will work with the minister in any way I can to improve the lot of our most vulnerable. I would say that it is not always about throwing money at a problem. It is, however, about listening to people and directing the funding accordingly. This government has not done so.
We hear comment made about education lacking in excellence. Sadly, there is very little going to lift and enhance the vocational education sector. Let's not forget that much of this activity is linked to the workplace. Again, I thank the minister, who is just leaving the chamber, for the fact that the CIT has had a small increase, which I acknowledge, but there are no real commitments to put some energy and financial input to school/college work initiatives in any significant way. Because it is obviously lacking in an understanding of business per se, this government cannot seem to get its head around the fact that having a lively, buoyant business sector means more jobs for our young people, which means more revenue being generated, which means more money in our economy, which means more money to help those in greatest need. It is quite simple, really.
Finally, Mr Speaker, it has to be said again that the budget seems to lack a strategic plan and vision for the future. It lacks spark and energy; it is flat. It is rather challenging and somewhat disconcerting that the deficit we are experiencing, albeit small, has come about with the aid of a large windfall of cash to save the day and in what have been very good economic times. I wonder how we will fair in an economic downturn? One or two have expressed that concern. I acknowledge and welcome some minor initiatives across the board, as I have said, but generally this budget is quite bereft of energy, ideas and vision. (Extension of time granted.)
For many of the initiatives and funding allocations, sustainability in the outyears is of concern. Time will be the judge of that, I dare say, Mr Treasurer, as you look over your glasses. The Liberal opposition leader said in relation to education that this budget was lacking in excellence. On the surface, at first glance it is fairly innocuous. No doubt, the devil is in the detail.
MS TUCKER (5.14): It is a good idea to consider this government's budget in the context of the political cycle and the overlapping stages of a government's period of office. The government came to office after a long period of Liberal government with a lot of community goodwill and hopes for a new way of doing things and delivery on the community's expectations.
The government had a honeymoon period, as happens, during which people remained hopeful and waited to see how the government would go about delivering on its reform agenda. This period was characterised by many reviews and studies across a range of