Page 3605 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 26 August 2008

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a stark contrast: a government that delivered in one year over $300 million as against a government which, in a term, could not deliver $300 million in capital. What a stark contrast in terms of our government’s capacity and willingness to meet the needs of this community.

We inherited poorly scoped and inadequately funded projects. In that regard, let us not forget the prison—a project fully supported by the then Chief Minister, Gary Humphries, in government, and initially scoped by the Liberal Party in government. But then, of course, when they fell into opposition, it was a project which, for nothing but shallow political convenience, they completely abandoned.

We inherited unrealistic forward estimates. The greatest shock we received on coming to government was to be informed by Treasury that the outgoing government, in order to produce a surplus in its last year, before its last election, had provided one per cent in the forward estimates for wage negotiations. Can you believe that?

Ms Gallagher: Yes.

MR STANHOPE: You can believe it. That is the trouble: you can believe it so easily. In its last budget before its last election, the Liberal Party government of the day provided one per cent in the forward estimates. This was what Bill Stefaniak and Brendan Smyth did in their last budget. In order to get the budget to balance, in the forward estimates they provided one per cent for salary increases.

Ms Porter: Shame!

MR STANHOPE: It is shameful, absolutely shameful. We inherited chronic neglect of key services and neglect of the most vulnerable in our community. And we do need to reflect on this. Remember the neglect in key areas of service delivery—the neglect of the vulnerable? We remember, don’t we, the Gallop commission of inquiry into disability services and what actually drove that. We remember the shameful lack of investment in mental health—the lowest per capita investment in mental health of any government in Australia. Canberra, the most prosperous community in Australia, had the lowest level of investment in mental health services. There was a chronic underfunding of child protection. There was a royal commission, no less—a commission of inquiry headed by Gallop—into the management and stewardship of disability services. And we inherited years of operating deficits—a total of $800 million of deficits over the terms. (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms MacDonald.

MS MacDONALD: Thank you, Chief Minister. Chief Minister, how will a strong ACT economy ensure delivery of the forecast budget surplus?

Mrs Dunne: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: I seek your ruling as to whether the question is in order. Asking how is an expression of opinion.

MR SPEAKER: He is going to explain how it is. It is not an opinion. I think he is going to go to the facts; otherwise, he will be out of order.

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