Page 1397 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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quite clear that the Treasurer has no idea. She has herself said, “Don’t get your hopes up on this bill and its effect.” But if you look at this, it simply says we are not even going to try to find out what proportion is labour, what is going to plant and what is going to materials. That is the nub of the bill, and the nub of the bill is not agreed to by the government. The response says:

Capital works projects are not tendered or contracted in a way that would enable this information to be extracted prior to the receipt of detailed quotations for these works.

I think I asked every department to take on notice what percentage of the projects would be dedicated towards capital, towards labour and towards plant and equipment. It is interesting to note my questions and the responses:

MR SMYTH: How many jobs will it create, enhance or retain and what percentage of that money will be spent on labour and what percentage will be spent on materials and equipment?

The head of the department, Mr Byles, responded:

Can I take that on notice?

MR SMYTH: Sure. And will you take the jobs on notice as well?

Mr Byles: Yes, absolutely.

“Yes, absolutely.” The response was that we would be told how many jobs this is going to create. And the answer? When you look through the answer, you cannot find the number for the number of jobs. It just simply says that this work will go out to businesses that employ people to do the work. As Ms Gallagher stated, it will be difficult to give a number of how many jobs are saved or how we measure the impact of this bill.

I think the response just continues the government’s contempt for this place and for the committee system in particular where they just blanket refuse to answer reasonable questions. We are asked to pass a bill that supports the retention of jobs in the ACT. But we cannot be told how many jobs it will retain. I think it is just absolutely amazing that we have got a Treasurer who has such disregard for this place and such an inability to actually answer the questions.

There are 16 recommendations. Recommendation 3 is agreed. It is great to see that it is agreed, and I put this point in the committee hearing. Recommendation 3 states:

The Committee recommends that the Treasurer provides to the Assembly an update of the estimated outcome of the ACT Budget for 2008-09 and the out years.

It was agreed; we will do that in the 2009-10 budget. So this place and the people of the ACT will now have to wait five months. We got up late in December. Now we have got to wait January, February, March, April, May before we find out again what is the state of the budget.

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