Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 8 May 2008) . . Page.. 1661 ..
that you can come home in one piece.” There are some real dangers occurring now and we do need a much greater emphasis on WorkCover and on worker safety and issues in relation to that.
I welcome some money for the Belconnen police station, except that has been around, again, for many years now. It is still going to take another four years to build. Finally, that appears to be occurring. I suppose it is better late than never. That is indeed welcome.
Finally, I will touch on the money for a couple of extra inspectors for liquor regulation. At least you specify two more liquor licensing inspectors, people who can go out and attend to problems in that area. I would, however, encourage you to heed industry and the police association and anyone who is involved in the area who feel that it would probably be far better if the liquor inspection duties were actually undertaken by the police, with proper resourcing. You still have not bitten the bullet on that one, but I suppose two more inspectors will at least count there.
There are some decent initiatives there, but there are certainly a lot of lost opportunities. Getting back to my original point, I think there are some potentially fundamental problems with your premise on which you might find you are being overoptimistic.
At 6.00 pm, in accordance with standing order 34, the debate was interrupted. The motion for the adjournment of the Assembly having been put and negatived, the debate was resumed.
MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.01): The budget before us this year is an election-year budget, rehashing and recycling all those funding promises that have come before. Where has the billion dollar windfall gone and what do ACT taxpayers have to show for it, as the Leader of the Opposition outlined in his headland speech this afternoon? Where is the vision that will sustain us in the future? There is no plan. There is no coherent vision. This is the budget of a government that is well past its use-by date.
We must ask ourselves, “What are we really left with after pushing away all the froth and bubble of this budget?” We are left with a track record that shows little in the way of forward planning, transparency and good governance. First and foremost, we must look at what has not been achieved by this budget or, for that matter, any other budget handed down by this government. We still have a severely over-bloated bureaucracy and very little in the way of front-line services. Where is the vision to perhaps cut some of that bureaucracy and transfer the resources from the backline to the front line?
Worse still, to add salt to the wound of ACT public servants who may be some of the few front-line personnel already under the pump, there is a commitment by Mr Stanhope that the ACT government will absorb the massive redundancies—3,000, in fact—that will result from the Rudd razor gang cuts for Canberra next week. Where will these people go? Whose jobs will they take? This cannot happen while the ACT public service staff budget is already blown out.