Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (24 June) . . Page.. 2316 ..
to bring businesses on board and we want to bring the work force on board. After all, it is for everybody's benefit.
Much has been said about the fireworks issue, which I will touch on briefly. One thing that has been discussed is the expenditure of $345,000, to get rid of 37 tonnes of fireworks. I am still at a loss to know why the cost is so high. That money could be used in the wider community, as far as I am concerned. There are many areas in community care, housing and disability that could well have done with that money. It is a vexed issue.
I am sure we have all been lobbied in this place regarding the banning of the retail sale of fireworks. I hope the government sees this as an opportunity to listen to the community and moves to ensure that we can all enjoy fireworks in a safe and controlled environment.
A positive move would be to issue community organisations with permits, to enable the broader community to come together. After the year we have had, I believe we need to keep our community moving forward together in a positive way, making sure we can set in train the steps to facilitate that.
Mr Speaker, I look forward to seeing the continued good progress of ACT WorkCover. I thank Jocelyn Plovits for her efforts-and all members of the team at ACT WorkCover. I wish them well for the coming year.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure-part 1.6-Treasury, $29,351,000 (net cost of outputs), $4,861,000 (capital injection) and $40,046,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $74,258,000.
MR SMYTH(Leader of the Opposition) (4.52): Mr Speaker, Treasury is a very important part of the government, and the significant document that it produces every year is, of course, the budget. I wish to make a couple of statements on the coming together of this budget and things that have happened since the budget was tabled.
We will-maybe tonight; more likely on Thursday-pass the government's budget. But I suspect we will be in the dark as to the true picture for this year; it will only really be available in September. But we will not know what it is at this point in time, and we certainly will not know whether we will be in deficit or surplus at the end of the year 2003-04.
It behoves the government to provide the Assembly with up-to-date information where it has it, so that we can all make judgments on whether or not a budget should be passed. The first recommendation of the Estimates Committee was that the Treasurer provide the Assembly with the most recent budget outcomes for 2002-03 and the estimate for 2003-04, and the reasons for the changes, as a matter of urgency before the budget is debated.
This is important because, when the budget was tabled, I, and my colleagues in the opposition, raised questions about some of the estimates-growth rates, CPI and some