Page 1425 - Week 04 - Thursday, 26 March 2009

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Treasurer, are the Chief Minister’s comments about ACT unemployment levels doubling an example of talking up the economy?

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I think the figures that the Chief Minister used are published figures. The comments I was making were along the lines of comments I have seen by Mr Smyth, essentially saying that we have been skirting near disaster for 18 months—those kinds of comments that talk the economy down, the gloom and doom, the recession and nothing is being done about it, that kind of thing.

What we are trying to do is stabilise the economy, invest, support employment, listen to the roundtables, respond where we can and look in our budget at further responses. The second and third appropriations and the budget are all part of our response. I think that forecasting details of published figures around the ACT’s economic outlook would not be considered talking the economy down. I think it is purely factual reality.

I think “skirting near disaster”, which is one comment I heard Mr Smyth make, is the kind of comment I am talking about in terms of talking the economy down and not instilling confidence in an economy where we need people to have confidence in the government, in the Assembly and in the responses that we are making.

MR SPEAKER: Mrs Dunne, a supplementary question?

MRS DUNNE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Treasurer, what action will you take to ensure that the Chief Minister stops talking down the economy?

MS GALLAGHER: The Chief Minister supports this economy. He always has. His comments are always about ensuring that the best outcome is delivered to the people of Canberra. That is what this Chief Minister does—again, in stark contrast to the jokers opposite. You really are dangerously close to becoming completely irrelevant to the Canberra community.


MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Health. Can you please provide an update to the Assembly on the progress of the Your health: our priority initiatives, which were funded through the last ACT budget, which provided $300 million to build a healthcare system ready to meet Canberra’s growing needs.

MS GALLAGHER: I thank Ms Porter for her interest in the redevelopment of the ACT health system.

As members of the Assembly would know, the government committed $300 million over four years, through the 2008-09 budget, for the implementation of the Your health: our priority initiative, which has arisen out of the work that I have done—that I commissioned on the capital asset development plan. This commitment is the first stage of an estimated $1 billion health system infrastructure program to revitalise and ready the health system to be able to respond to the growing demand for services that we expect to continue up to 2022 and beyond.

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