Page 2342 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 28 June 2005

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negotiations. I felt a bit sorry for him, because he obviously had not been briefed, when I dared ask what the taxpayer got in return as part of those increases. I know the minister’s view is that if you negotiate productivity outcomes, that means you are lowering people’s standard of living. That is not a view subscribed to in any other negotiating environment in the industrial movement but in the ACT we are a different case, apparently.

There were gains, though. We heard that they turned the lights off and saved some electricity when they sent everybody home between Christmas and New Year. That was a sad reflection on capacity to negotiate. I know the minister has good intentions, but I would plead with the government: try to get better value for money because, when we assume the Treasury bench in 2008, I can see that the disaster will compound and certainly our task will be made even more difficult by these ill-considered approaches to negotiating and outlaying the taxpayer’s dollar. The Chief Minister’s area is a litany of problems. There are many more that could be detailed and I am sure my colleagues will tackle those.

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (12.22): One of the most important parts of the contract politicians have with their constituencies is delivering on promises made by their party in the election. It is on these promises that members are elected, governments are formed and mandates are supplied. In my time in this place I have found it particularly troubling to see the contempt for election commitments the Stanhope Labor government appears to have developed. I am of the belief that the dragway is just one example of ways that this government, having been elected, will now shy away from the commitments it has made to the community.

Over the course of the next couple of days you will be hearing a number of concerns the Liberals have in relation to the budget for 2005-06. Far from rolling our eyes in derision, the suggestions that I, Mr Mulcahy and other members of the opposition have made are about priorities, effective government spending and providing basic facilities for the community, rather than constructing grandiose monuments in an attempt to perpetuate legacies like big tree parks, when there are already wonderful botanic gardens here in Canberra, or a $150 million bus road that will save two or three minutes on a trip between Belconnen and Civic. I note that I do not remember the arboretum being mentioned much in the lead up to last year’s election.

I accept and understand that there need to be priorities and that there is no bottomless pit when it comes to paying for the needs of the territory. At the same time, the people of Canberra have been provided with expectations around the offerings of the Stanhope government and have been promised certain outcomes. The ALP is committed to delivering a dragway to the people of Canberra. A number of sites have been mentioned, however a site in the Majura Valley appears to be the preferred option. During the estimates process a number of questions were asked of the Chief Minister about the dragway. In response to those questions the Chief Minister has stated that only $8 million, with no cost escalator built in, will be available to build the facility.

Cost escalation of capital works has been an interesting discussion to come out of the budget. A number of times we have heard members of the government highlighting the fact that, when a capital works project is announced, the cost of the project is at the time of the announcement; that is that, for example, a dragway will cost $8 million. Over the

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