Page 3035 - Week 08 - Thursday, 7 August 2008

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The explanation of Mr Smyth, the shadow Treasurer, yesterday was, “Well, how could there be any provision in the budget papers for the GDE when one looks in a budget that just says nought, nought, nought.” Yes, Mr Smyth—shadow Treasurer and potential Treasurer for the Australian Capital Territory—that is because no moneys were appropriated in the budget for the duplication of the GDE. The government had not taken a decision at the time that the budget was prepared and delivered to duplicate the GDE.

But the business of government does not stop. It continues to run. That budget was finalised in April. Time moves; life goes on; government continues. We have an election. Surprise, surprise! In the context of an election and a need for the people of the ACT to understand the intentions and respective positions of prospective alternative governments and parties, one explains and outlines the forward program—a third term agenda—on our behalf. A third term agenda of my government would be the full duplication of the GDE.

What I did say by way of explanation in relation to the capacity of the budget to fund the duplication of the GDE was that within the budget papers—this goes very much to Mr Stefaniak’s question and this is the distinction which certainly the shadow Treasurer yesterday just failed completely to grasp or understand—no moneys were appropriated in the immediate past budget for the GDE but a provision was made—

Mr Hargreaves: That is right. They do not know what a provision is.

MR STANHOPE: Yes, a provision is made in the budget papers, and through the budget, for a $1 billion infrastructure investment. This is massive and unprecedented. To show the extent to which this is an unprecedented investment in the territory in the future, the average expenditure by the Liberal Party in government on capital works was in the order of $65 million. That is the average expenditure of the Liberal Party in government. It was between $60 million and $80 million. We are talking here about a period of over six years. What is that? It is less than $400 million. In seven years in government the Liberal Party managed a capital program of less than $400 million. In our last financial year budget, we delivered $314 million of capital on the ground.

I guess some of the numbers are too big for the Liberal Party. We now talk about a $1 billion infrastructure commitment. Compare this with the Liberal Party when Mr Smyth and Mr Stefaniak were in government as ministers. When they got into budget cabinet they grappled with and agonised over their $60 million capital program. They thought, “Oh, my goodness—

Opposition members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order! There are far too many interjections. Chief Minister, come back to the subject matter and direct your comments through the chair, please.

MR STANHOPE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. This is the difference. I do hope that having this question asked by the shadow Treasurer yesterday and Mr Stefaniak today I can say that it is true, that there is no appropriation in this year’s budget for the GDE but there is within this year’s budget provision for a $1 billion infrastructure fund—

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