Page 1250 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008
familiar, because the Stanhope government got it wrong. You only have to go back to a recent focus on business forum when the Irish minister who came out as a guest speaker was absolutely aghast that we had a government that had got rid of all the research and development programs that assisted people to take their product to market. What do we get? We get recommendation 8—that is, stimulating and supporting innovation at the enterprise level. Recommendation 8, a program to support innovation. There you go. They used to call it the knowledge fund; we used to call it a business grant.
Here are the mistakes of the 2006-07 budget in a 160-page report that clearly says the Chief Minister got it wrong. It is interesting that recommendation 7 is that the Epicor incubation enterprise development model be extended. Who was responsible for Epicor? The former Liberal government. We set up a model; it is surviving. It is now in the Chief Minister’s own report as the way to move forward.
Subparagraph (g) of the motion refers to the lack of progress in answering the question of skill shortages. The government points the finger at the Howard government, but it is wrong. The funding is three times what it used to be, and the number of apprentices has gone from 154,000 to 414,000. If the ACT has suffered, perhaps it is because of the lack of relationship between the Chief Minister and the former Prime Minister, and clearly that lack of relationship continues. It does not matter whether it is a Liberal government or a Labor government in power—nobody wants to talk to Jon Stanhope.
Subparagraph (h) refers to the downgrading of some actions in the economic white paper to second order actions. We have covered this, but it is worth reading. Here is an answer from the Chief Minister to question on notice No 255 from the estimates committee entitled “Managing intellectual property”:
(2) Action 40 is a second order Economic White Paper initiative.
Mrs Dunne: Is that like a core and a non-core promise?
MR SMYTH: It is interesting; I did not know what it meant, so I went back and asked. I asked what orders had been determined for the 47 actions and whether there were more than first and second order actions. When I got the response to the question asking what a second order action is, I got the answer that there are no such orders. Hang on; that cannot be right. We have two questions with different answers, contradictory answers, from a Chief Minister who is faffing around in economic development.
My motion goes on to refer to the failure of the Stanhope government to implement those actions set out in the economic white paper that were intended to encourage development of nine priority industries. Most people have forgotten the economic white paper, but a quick summary of it is that there were four themes with nine strategic areas and 47 recommendations. At the heart of it were the nine strategic sectors, because if you can get the sectors right then you can work on delivering for the people of the ACT. Because the Chief Minister would have forgotten this, because he has moved away from them, the nine sectors are information and communication