Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 9 April 2008) . . Page.. 1234 ..
I would like to finish by addressing a few comments to Mr Mulcahy’s tabling speech. I support his bill, because it removes an inequitable and inefficient tax. I do not share his view that the ACT government has too much money. My concern has always been that it is not using that income to do enough to address the challenges we face in our community. For too many Canberrans housing is neither secure nor affordable. The destruction of small schools was unwarranted. Our buildings are inefficient and need to be improved. Our approach to public transport is unimaginative and inadequate. Our dependence on property development results in the continual loss of irreplaceable biodiversity and habitat at questionable benefit to our ability to reduce our energy use.
I look forward to seeing the ACT budget in May and to the election campaign later this year, which might see us all moving further down the path of an integrated and progressive approach to government revenue and expenditure. Meanwhile, I would be very pleased if this bill were passed and this unwarranted and inequitable tax removed.
MR STANHOPE (Ginninderra—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Business and Economic Development, Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Minister for the Environment, Water and Climate Change, Minister for the Arts) (4.59): I must say it is interesting that nobody who has spoken in this debate has yet indicated which $17 million of government services over the course of this particular budget cycle they propose to cut. It is the height of hypocrisy, of course, for anybody in this place to stand up in the first place to move and then to support a bill that removes $17 million from the budget in forward estimates without a single person saying—
DR FOSKEY: That is your job.
MR STANHOPE: Dr Foskey says, “That is your job.” Dr Foskey stands here and says it is outrageous that we are collecting this $16.5 million to $17 million a year, but she does not have the integrity or the courage to stand and say, “Mr Speaker, in supporting this bill to remove $17 million from the budget, these are the $17 million of recurrent services which the Greens propose be removed from government services.”
Will the $17 million be in climate change, I wonder? Will Dr Foskey’s $17 million worth of cuts be in health, in child protection or in community safety, or will Dr Foskey cut the $17 million from climate change or from the environment? Where will Dr Foskey take the $17 million worth of cuts from?
There has been a complete lack of integrity today by speakers debating a proposal to remove $17 million from the budget. Not a single speaker who supported that proposition has said, “Mr Speaker, I propose that we reduce the number of police by such and such,” or, “I propose, Mr Speaker, that we cut the number of hospital beds by 30,” or, “Mr Speaker, I propose that we reduce funding for Mental Health by $17 million a year,” or, “Mr Speaker, I propose that we do not fund an Indigenous-specific drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.”
Which of these proposals will Mr Smyth and Mr Mulcahy and Dr Foskey cut? They say, “Let us cut $17 million from the budget. Isn’t it outrageous that we have this