Page 2158 - Week 06 - Thursday, 26 June 2008

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least the next decade or so. I do not claim to have any special expertise in forecasting in this area and so I am not in a position to forecast how much it will cost to attain the 2030 funding goal. Nevertheless, this is yet another consideration that I would urge the government to have when it receives windfall revenue. At the moment we see a lot of revenue being squandered on wasteful projects when we still do not have assets backing up existing liabilities to ACT public servants.

I acknowledge the fact that claims to these matters are not going to happen tomorrow, most likely, but we need to be mindful of meeting the targets that we set and become attuned to the impact of the deteriorating markets from time to time that may put us behind those targets. Both current public servants and former public servants, and taxpayers, deserve a strict level of adherence to these budget targets.

This government has had countless opportunities to reform its financial management due to the large windfall revenues it has received in the past couple of years. The government has repeatedly received substantially more revenue than forecast, both from its own taxes and from the GST. It has had the opportunity also to repeal or reduce taxes and it has had the opportunity to put more money towards the superannuation shortfall that presently exists. It is a matter of concern—and that is probably as far as I would go at this stage—in relation to meeting that funding goal. Officials said that they believed they would get back on track in due course, and I hope they are right, but it is something that I wanted to flag in the context of this section of the budget.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—part 1.10—ACT Health—$693,502,000 (net cost of outputs), $91,183,000 (capital injection), $5,395,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $790,080,000

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (9.53): One of the cornerstones of the government’s expenditure on infrastructure is, of course, the health portfolio. It is interesting to note, when you look at page 31 of budget paper No 5, that it is perhaps one of the few sections of the whole program where all the money is actually allocated and there are not the future provisions which are littered through the climate change area, improving urban amenity and so on. The health minister has done very well; she has managed to get the numbers to add up to $300 million. But it is interesting that in the outyears there are more gaps in what will appear.

The interest for me is particularly in the mental health area. This year, 2008, we should see the opening of the new mental health facilities, which should include a young persons unit. Unfortunately, there is only $775,000 set aside for the provision of the mental health young persons unit, which represents the planning for that unit. There is no money in the outyear. It would be very pleasing to hear the minister outline exactly when this unit will come into being. There is a lot of concern in the community that young people would inappropriately end up in the adult mental health inpatient facility unless we have a firm commitment. Given that Mr Corbell promised this back in 2005, it is now 2008 and we have not turned a single sod or laid a single brick in relation to providing this very important feature.

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