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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 August 2008) . . Page.. 3607 ..

to Canberra. By providing targeted assistance to first home buyers, combined with a range of other housing affordability initiatives, the government is creating an environment which will see those already living in the territory want to remain here and contribute to the success of the ACT economy.

Why would you not want to live here, despite the fact that the Liberal Party continue to repeatedly talk the town down? With near record low unemployment and high participation, this economy is operating at virtually full employment. The most recent ABS data show that the number of vacancies in the territory exceeds the number of unemployed persons. Therefore, there is a job for every unemployed Canberran who wants one. An economy displaying these characteristics is synonymous with strength; and with such strength comes budget stability, so long as there is careful fiscal management.

Now is not the time to abandon all the hard work that this government has achieved by handing over the keys to an opposition who are devoid of any responsibility, devoid of any respectability and, most importantly, devoid of any idea how to deliver and maintain a healthy budget surplus. We see that most particularly in the promises that they have made over the last four years to this electorate of the things that they would do if elected on 18 October.

The official campaign has only just begun but the opposition has already made spending promises amounting to half a billion dollars between now and 2011-12. This, along with promises to cut revenue by around $300 million, would result in a hit to the budget bottom line over the term of the next government of more than $800 million. Is not there a resonance there? That is the deficit that they accumulated last time they were in government—$800 million. Here they have already, to date, promised an $800 million hit to the bottom line if they are elected on 18 October.

Of course they have gone very quiet on some of these promises, like the 100 acute care beds that Mr Smyth promised, the $63 million commitment to 100 acute care beds. Mr Smyth is on the record—and we will table these before the end of the week—promising an additional $35 million on mental health. (Time expired.)

Department of Territory and Municipal Services

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, in June 2008 your department required additional funding from the Treasurer’s advance of $10.5 million. Minister, why did your department require these funds from the Treasurer’s advance?

MR HARGREAVES: I will take that question on notice, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth with a supplementary question.

MR SMYTH: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Minister, what prevented your department from budgeting for these funds as part of the normal annual budget process, rather than having to request funds from the Treasurer’s advance?

MR HARGREAVES: I will take the question on notice, Mr Speaker.

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