Page 2564 - Week 08 - Thursday, 30 June 2005

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I will refer back to a few things that have been said. We have had this discussion about the number of staff in events. Even Mr Smyth, towards the end of it—after he and Mr Mulcahy had been through it went, “Whoops! We have been saying they should do more with less.” Here we are running events and doing more with less, but that is still wrong. That is the problem and has been the problem with the opposition’s approach to the debate on the overall budget. It has been eternally inconsistent. You have been contradictory. Perhaps you could get your act together and stop saying, on the one hand, “More, more”—

Mr Smyth: The point is that you said there was no reduction.

MR QUINLAN: Protection please, Mr Deputy Speaker; warn him.

MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Please carry on, Treasurer.

MR QUINLAN: That has been the problem. It has been a case of total inconsistency. You have to spend more and more but less. The less has not been identified. The more is easy to identify and the less is not. It is hypocritical, really. We are actually working.

Mr Mulcahy: Except for the arboretum.

MR QUINLAN: The arboretum is a capital investment; we are still talking operationally, and about what we might do. Because there is not much to criticise, we got down to the small business-ready program, which you probably only heard of a month or so ago. Let me say that, from October 2002 to December 2003 the small business-ready or employment-ready program had about 340 clients. So in a period of about 14 months it had about 44 clients per month. We were actually fulfilling a need. The demand for that course has fallen away.

Mr Smyth: So it has gone?

MR QUINLAN: It has not disappeared altogether but it has fallen away to the point where we have had, in some months, one, four or six businesses interested in it. The service and the information are still available. That is still provided through our business support and small business programs, but it has been amalgamated into the other mentoring and advice service we provide because we are over the hump. We have picked up those businesses that wanted this. From time to time there will still emerge businesses that want assistance, who will ask how they get through the mire they have to get through.

Mr Mulcahy: ACT regulations!

MR QUINLAN: Yes; it could well be a case of ACT regulations. We had former member Michael Moore in this place earlier today. He is now a small businessman. He was saying, “God, the paper you have to go through is a pain!” It is mainly federal. You have super, you have tax, you have BAS and you have GST. He said, “It is a mire.” We have a small business commissioner who is charged with the job of trying to reduce that, but other sectors of the community that demand regulation impose the necessity for a lot of that. You can take all the red tape away but then, all of a sudden, “Hang on, no; we

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