Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 27 June 2008) . . Page.. 2343 ..
it which are very good. We will look forward to seeing how that plays out, but we have always had concerns with the bringing together of a whole prison system into the one prison.
I did want to reiterate a little bit of what Mr Pratt had to say about Fairbairn and the ESA move there. I look at these figures on the page and they seem extraordinary. Surely these figures cannot be right. We have $173,000 per month being paid for rent—$173,000 per month being spent on rent for virtually empty buildings. I understand 20 people work in these buildings at present. That is just an extraordinary waste of taxpayers’ money. How we got to a situation where we are paying $173,000 per month for 20 employees at ESA headquarters, at the Fairbairn buildings, is just indicative of how this government shows disdain for taxpayers’ money. That monthly figure could be used on all of the other crucial services in our community. That money could be put to front-line services in ESA, to community safety, to paying our teachers, to improving education standards, to streamlining our planning system, to cutting our waiting lists—a whole raft of essential services.
The taxpayers of the ACT have been forced under this government to pay more and more for their rates. They are seeing their rates and their charges go up at a rapid rate. The services that people expect are not being delivered, and we know why: we see these examples of waste all the time. We have highlighted so many of them in this place, but $173,000 per month for a building that is virtually empty is outrageous. For a minister to allow the situation to arise where this much taxpayers’ money is wasted, for really almost no gain, to house 20 staff, is outrageous.
This is a government that tells us on the other hand, “You cannot cut taxes. If you cut taxes you will have to cut services by the same amount.” Well, compared to the way that this government manages, we believe that you can find savings; that you can cut taxes and you can deliver services. But every time Jon Stanhope gets up and speaks about tax cuts, he says, “If you cut taxes by X amount, you will have to cut services by the same amount.” It is a false argument and it is highlighted by the examples of exorbitant waste that we see from this government, particularly as highlighted here—$173,000 per month of ACT taxpayers’ money being wasted for a building that sits empty. I look forward to the minister explaining to us how this situation has been able to arise and why it is reasonable. And while he is at it maybe he can tell us why every possible tax cut is unreasonable, why every possible tax cut would lead to a commensurate cut in services. It is a false argument and it is highlighted by the exorbitant waste of this government.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (11.36): This is a strong budget for the Justice and Community Safety portfolio and there is a range of initiatives designed to further improve the safety and community preparedness for emergencies in Canberra.
I would like to quickly reflect on a number of these. First, it is important to acknowledge the very significant expansion in the CCTV network here in the city—funding of over $8 million over four years for an expansion of the CCTV network and to upgrade the existing network. The government has made a strong commitment, in a much more proactive way, to utilise CCTV technology to improve safety and