Page 124 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 15 February 2006

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with the rest of the nation, and not coming last; we have invested from $75 million to $80 million of additional funding in child protection.

You cannot sit there and tell us that the additional money we invest in child protection is over and above that which would have been necessary had you done your job in government and not left us the basket case in these areas that you left us.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Since forecast revenue growth is approximately 1½ per cent per year, what are you going to do to ensure that spending does not grow by more than that amount?

MR STANHOPE: One thing we will not do is another of the things that you did in government, Mr Smyth. The enormous fraud we inherited, and the fraud in which the previous government operated, is best illustrated by what we discovered on taking government in relation to budget allocations for EBAs.

Mrs Burke: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Chief Minister makes an assertion of fraud. I ask him to withdraw that word in relation to the former government.

MR SPEAKER: I do not think it is unparliamentary in the context of—

Mrs Burke: It is an imputation.

MR SPEAKER: It did not refer to individuals; he was talking about the previous government and the policies of the previous government. I cannot rule that out of order.

MR STANHOPE: It always needs to be kept in mind in relation to any discussion or any issue raised by the Liberal Party in relation to government expenditures and the delivery of government services. Reflect on, for instance, the allocation that we discovered only when we took government, when the Treasurer had his first briefing from Treasury, to be advised, “Oh well, in relation to the underlying position of the budget, Treasurer this is what you find”. The Treasurer asked, “What allocation is there in the forward estimates for pay rises for the ACT public service? What is the percentage allocation into the outyears?”, noting that the previous government had, before losing government, offered the nurses a 14 per cent pay rise.

Of course, we, having relied on the then government’s assertions in relation to the state of the budget, having relied on the fact that it had—and knowing that it had—offered a 14 or 14½ per cent pay rise to the nurses before losing government—negotiations incomplete—assumed that any responsible government would have made some provision to cover a 14 per cent pay offer. What did we find when we opened the books? What response did the Treasurer receive when he told Treasury he assumed that this 14 per cent was covered in the budget, in the forecasts? What was the budget allocation for that 14 per cent offer that you made to the nurses? The allocation in the outyears was one per cent.

Mr Smyth: What are you going to do?

MR SPEAKER: Order! Chief Minister, come back to the point of the question. It was in relation to expenditure levels and how you would—.

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