Page 1236 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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Another example I would like to look at is in building construction areas. One thing that has been brought to my attention fairly recently is the red granite that is being mined from the quarry in Ginninderra. This is the red granite that we see commonly around Canberra. It is on nature strips and it is in public buildings such as Calthorpes House, Lanyon Homestead and the High Court. One of the results of this is that it impacts quite negatively on Ginninderra Creek and the catchment area. There is heavy machinery which is used to mine this granite and then the trenches are refilled with crushed concrete, which is all a bit bizarre when in many cases this crushed concrete or crushed brick could be used as the gravel material in the ACT.

I speak again with experience; I have crushed red bricks in the gravel path in my household. Has the government considered alternative, less wasteful sources for its gravel needs? If we were to use the crushed red brick, it would be recycled products; it would be local expenditure; it would have the same purpose without the environmental impact.

In conclusion, I would like to say that we should be looking at all of our expenditure to see whether it is wasteful expenditure. Does it waste water? Does it waste energy? Does it waste natural resources? Does it waste the time of our public servants? Does it waste and pollute our natural parks? Does it waste the time of ACT citizens? I look forward to the government examining all of its expenditure in light of long-term sustainability and thus reducing wasteful expenditure.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.25): The would-be Chief Minister and Treasurer retreats from the chamber. Ms Gallagher said we spend more than any other government. She is right—because you get more money than any other government. No budget ever goes back. There is this argument about inputs—“We have put more money into every issue”—but there was no issue where the Treasurer walked to this place and said, “This is where we achieved a better outcome.” That is how you reduce waste. If you want to spend more, that is fine, but make sure you get more for it. And before you spend more, also make sure that you have got the sustainability in your economy to ensure that you can get it year after year. Otherwise, it is not efficient.

Ms Gallagher described the opposition as petty and nitpicking. She said, “On paper you are wasting all that paper in those FOI requests.” The only reason that there are FOI requests is that the government refuses to share the information—information that former governments willingly put on the table. Whether it was capital works records or monthly hospital figure updates, it was freely given in this place on a regular basis. This is the government that shut down scrutiny after saying they would be more honest, more open and more accountable. Do not blame us for holding you accountable; if you are sure of what you do, put these reports on the table.

One notable waste of money that we have not discussed yet is the hospital pay parking. This is probably the only government or organisation in the Western world that ran pay parking at a loss. They lost money on the hospital pay parking scheme and at the same time caused immense grief to people visiting loved ones in the hospital. Absolutely shameful!

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