Page 30 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 14 February 2006

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As I have explained previously, this government has been in government for over four years, is well into its second term of government and I believe it behoves any government intent on maintaining a record such as that that we have achieved of good government and governance to address priorities represented to us by the people of Canberra in relation to the need to maintain quality of service across the board in relation to government service delivery, and we have certainly done that.

Over the last four years, we have worked assiduously to fill the gaps in service provision, which were the legacy of seven years of mismanagement by the Liberal Party in office, and we have done that to an extremely significant degree. We have not set out with an agenda of reductions in expenditure here or there, or enhancements of this area or that. We have appointed a strategic and functional review, headed up by two incredibly competent people in Michael Costello and Greg Smith, both at different times the holders of very senior offices within the commonwealth service—and now, so far as Mr Costello is concerned, in the service of the Australian Capital Territory. These are people with impeccable records of achievement, capacity and understanding of issues around strategic management and financing.

Our interest, of course, is to ensure that we as a government continue to the greatest potential to meet the priorities of the people of the ACT, to ensure that our systems are efficient, to ensure that the priorities that we set, explain and articulate through the strategic work we have done and continue to do in a policy sense meet what are obviously the priorities of the people of the ACT: to maintain the best educational system in Australia and the best health system in Australia and the best commitment to a full range of government services that are delivered by this government. And, of course, in any objective assessment of national reports on interjurisdictional comparisons of service delivery the ACT continues to lead the nation.

To the extent that in our last budget we budgeted for a deficit this year, and in the context of what we acknowledge to be an economy that has come off the top of a cycle, we are determined to do what any good government would do, and that is to ensure that we maintain the essential integrity of the bottom line of our budget. Any good government faces those issues squarely, as this government has done, and we will continue to maintain our commitment to the economic strength of the ACT and our commitment to good government—the good government that we have delivered over the last four years, that we will deliver for the next three years and, in the context, of course, of the absolute disgrace that the Liberal Party of the ACT have become, we will certainly deliver for four years after the next election, and, I would expect, for four years after the election after that.

Mr Smyth: What’s your savings target?

MR STANHOPE: Careful! In the context of an opposition that is a rabble, as one gazes across the chamber one sees, of course, the putative Leader of the Opposition, one sees the leader of the opposition who did not know he was leader of the opposition, in Mr Stefaniak—he will be pleased to take the position if anybody ever raises it with him—and of course the coat-tagger. In the context of the face that the Liberal Party is presenting to the ACT, I expect we will continue to deliver good government for many years into the future.

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