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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2255 ..



The Treasurer is shaking his head, but I have heard these concerns from people who have called my office and discussed section 61 with me-and the future of the ICT. The information I have been provided with goes some way towards addressing those concerns, yet the fact remains that we are getting this information almost a year after the initial money was appropriated for the node of excellence. These changes continue to be made, in essence delaying the node of excellence project. These factors are of concern, especially because millions of dollars were spent in preparing the government's submission to be part of this ICT centre of excellence.

To me, this appears to be poor planning. That raises concerns about how this government is, and how the former government was, operating, in respect of their business dealings and their dealings with the federal government. I hope this is the last change we see to the appropriation for the node of excellence. I hope things are settled and they are able to get on with doing the job of building the node of excellence in the ACT, thus allowing that idea to continue.

Despite the concern about the management of NICTA and the ACT's involvement, especially in respect of the use of land, the ACT Democrats will be supporting the other matters in this Appropriation Bill.


(11.06): Appropriation Bill (No 3) is again a supplementary appropriation bill. Although the Treasurer explains his amendments, I see there are further amendments and further moneys to be expended. I do not think, in my time in the Assembly, I have seen so many supplementary appropriation bills introduced by a government.

Mr Smyth mentioned the ambulance drivers and paramedics. I wonder why that could not have been done earlier. if it was necessary for appropriations to be made, they could have been made much sooner. But that is typical of this government, which tends to try to do things at the last minute.

I cannot resist responding to the comments Mr Corbell made about wages going down under the previous government. Mr Corbell-through you, Mr Deputy Speaker-we may have some issues. I know the current Treasurer disputes the $344.8 million deficit and comes up with a different figure.

The clear fact remains that, when we achieved self-government in the territory, we were in a very healthy financial situation but, when the Carnell government came in, in March 1995, we certainly were not. There was a significant deficit. We say it was $344.8 million, Mr Quinlan may not agree with that, but even he concedes that there was a substantial deficit.

In the space of seven years, the previous government endured a lot of pain and bore sweat, blood and tears in trying to get the territory's finances back into order-so this current government benefits from the very good, hard work done by the previous government.

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