Page 970 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 25 February 2009

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In the context of the budget process, it will be collaborative between the Greens and the Labor Party; that is the way the agreement frames it. This budget will partly be a result of both the Labor Party’s wishes and those of the Greens. It is interesting that we are having now the debate about 18 weeks leave separate from any negotiations. I do not know whether this is the result of budget negotiations breaking down. We do not know if they have commenced, but it is an interesting one. I ask Ms Hunter, though, to clarify for us whether this represents the wish list of those promises that they believe the government should be honouring

We believe the government should honour all of its promises. We do not believe that it should just prioritise a few that it believes are worth saving and throw out the rest. They took certain promises to the electorate, and they should honour those. We have not seen them honour them in previous years, but we will be seeking to keep them accountable for every one of their promises.

In summary, we believe that 18 weeks leave for ACT government employees is a worthy initiative that is worth supporting, and we will support it. We believe that provided the Productivity Commission irons out some of the potential issues which we have raised—the effect on small business and the disparities between women who are in the paid workforce and women who are not—then we would be very supportive of such a parental leave scheme. I thank Ms Hunter for bringing the motion forward. I note Mrs Dunne will be moving an amendment which we will be supporting, and we will also be supporting Mr Hargreaves’s amendment.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.26 to 2.00 pm.

Questions without notice


MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, you were reported on 14 February 2009 as saying that the ACT budget would move into a deficit of around $17 million this financial year. You said on ABC radio on 20 December 2008:

… the next budget is going to be a difficult one.

Treasurer, will the deteriorating budget position mean the dumping or postponing of any election commitments and if so, which ones?

MS GALLAGHER: I thank the Leader of the Opposition for the question. Budget cabinet has not started meeting yet, as it does in its formal process to consider the 2009-10 budget. I stand by all the comments I have made. It will be a very difficult budget. The budget position is deteriorating. I think there has been around a $220 million turnaround in our budget since the pre-election budget update was published in September last year.

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