Page 700 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 8 March 2005

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You begrudge the fact that we have increased expenditure by more than 25 per cent in relation to mental health. You begrudge the fact that we have expended as much as we have in relation to education; that we have initiated some major reforms in relation to class size in support of students; and that we have achieved the significant outcomes that we have. You begrudge us that; you begrudge the people of Canberra that. We have identified the major issues of concern to the people of Canberra and we have responded to those through the wise investment of the funds available to us.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. How will the ACT government attempt to rectify its poor budgetary position—by cutting expenditure, raising taxes, or a combination of both?

MR STANHOPE: As I said, the cabinet has commenced its deliberations in relation to the next budget. We will be looking at all the ACT government’s areas of expenditure. We will be assessing the priorities as we see them. We will respond to those priorities. We will consider everything in relation to our revenue stream. We will consider everything in relation to our expenditures.

We as a cabinet will make decisions, as we always have, about the priorities, the pressures, the gaps and the areas of major community interest such as health, broadly described, education, community safety and the stimulation of the economy. This government has an incredibly proud record of achievement in these areas. We are determined to build on this record over the next four years.

There is nothing that is not on the table. At this stage we will be looking at every item of expenditure. We will be assessing our priorities. We will be looking at whether there are adjustments we need to make in relation to revenue and our revenue streams, as any cabinet of any political persuasion going into a budget cabinet process does. There is no unique science to this. It is a question of looking at the monies available, the Treasury predictions and the pressing needs of the community.

We will respond to that, consistent with our philosophy and our commitment to this community, consistent with our vision for a fair and just society. Everybody genuinely has an opportunity to participate equally in the fruits of this community. We will respond to that. We will hopefully meet—to the greatest extent we possibly can—the hopes that the people of Canberra have in our government, reflected in that historic vote of confidence that we received just four or so months ago from the people of Canberra. We will not let them down.

Water—Canberra supply

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, I refer to a report in today’s Canberra Times that makes claims about Canberra’s water supply. Can you assure the Assembly that Canberra’s water supply is, in fact, safe?

MR CORBELL: I thank Ms Porter for the question. It is a very important question that all Canberrans should rightly be reassured about. The report in the Canberra Times this morning is irresponsible and misleading because it suggests that Canberra’s water supply is not safe to drink. The simple answer is that that is wrong. I can assure the Assembly

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