Page 1517 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 10 May 2006

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Random breath tests

Road fatalities

Public housing—funding

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Planning) (6.24), in reply: There are a couple of issues worth reflecting on tonight in the debates today. The first is in relation to drink-driving and Mr Pratt’s claim about the reduction in random breath tests in Canberra over the past year. It is true that during 2004 and 2005 ACT Policing conducted close to 47,000—46,898, to be precise—random breath tests in Canberra. This was down on previous years.

Mr Pratt needs to get with the program and to get up to date with the latest figures. To date in this financial year, ACT Policing have conducted 64,816 random breath tests and is on track to complete 75,000 random breath tests for this financial year. That is a pretty big difference from the previous year, and I look forward to a media release from Mr Pratt welcoming this improvement.

It is also worth noting that, overall, very fortunately, the number of fatalities to date on ACT roads has been dramatically less than for the same time last year. Last year, to the beginning of May, we had tragically seen nine fatalities on Canberra’s roads. This year we have seen only two. Every death is a tragedy. To see that level of reduction is, nevertheless, very welcome. It is worth putting those things on the record.

The other interesting thing that I briefly comment on tonight is the issue that was raised by Mrs Burke: “When is $30 million not $30 million? It is not $30 million when government makes a commitment for it.” But the point I make to Mrs Burke, through you, Mr Speaker, is that $30 million is still $30 million. There is no getting around the fact that, if you call for $30 million worth of expenditure, it does not matter who promised it, it is still $30 million. This simply reinforces my point. The Liberals cannot have it both ways. They cannot say, “Do not spend any more money,” but then say, “But do spend the money you promised to spend.” Either they are serious about saying, “No more expenditure,” or they are not. And $30 million is still $30 million is still $30 million. There is no way around that.

That highlights the flip-flop that we have seen from the Liberal Party on a whole range of issues over the last couple of weeks. Mr Seselja asked, “When is a school closure not a school closure?” That is Mr Seselja. And there is a good one by Mrs Burke: “When is $30 million not $30 million?” It is the same approach from Mrs Burke.

This is the hypocrisy and double standards we are hearing from the Liberal Party in the lead-up to the budget. I am afraid that it is probably only going to continue as we head through the budget period.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 6.28 pm.

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