Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 06 Hansard (Wednesday, 6 May 2009) . . Page.. 1959 ..
industries. There is no environmental industry support in this territory from this government and there has not been for seven years. The Greens will be held to account for that as well.
This is an important motion. There has been no answer from anybody on the government benches. We have had the ridicule. We have played the man, as we always do when we do not have an answer. We have had a lecture from the would-be Treasurer, who does not understand the genuine nature of reform and does not have the courage to take the position that he could have taken to make it happen. That is the hollow man. It is TS Eliot all over again. These are the hollow men. These are the stuffed men, leaning together, headpieces filled with straw.
You can say you have got a plan, but if it is a sham then it is not a plan. Capital development is a sham because it does not take us anywhere. To say of capital development that “we have achieved the objectives of the economic white paper” is not true. The statistics show that private sector employment has fallen. That is the shame of it.
There are opportunities in this city. This is an incredibly intelligent city. This is a well-resourced city. This is a city that will work together, and we have proven it time and time again. For instance, when we went after the EPIcorp incubator program that the former government had, we beat every other jurisdiction in the country because the community worked together.
The complaint from the Treasurer is that they want the opposition to work with them. We offered that. We said: “Let’s sit down. Put it on the table. We’ll have a chat.” No, they could not do that. Now the Treasurer is saying, “Let’s have a talk.” This is the problem. We have had seven years of the Stanhope-Gallagher government, seven years in which they had enormous resources, in which they could have reshaped, rebuilt and built a future for the ACT economy, and they have chosen to ignore it.
It is why Ted Quinlan left. We all know it. His colleagues would not listen to him. They would not stop the rampant spending. They would not put in place in the economic white paper things to make it work, to seize the opportunity to drive it forward and to stop the dependence on government spending. Ted understood. We had numerous debates here about the economic cycle. The economic cycle has an upside and a downside, and then it comes up again. One of the few certainties is that economies do turn. For several years we have been saying that the economy would turn. We did not know what the driver was going to be but, as certain as night follows day, the economy turns. It always does. The booms come to an end.
It is well and good for the Treasurer to say that we had 10 per cent growth and now it is zero. That is the point. You had 10 per cent growth and it is now zero. You have had four quarters out of six of negative growth in the last 18 months. This decline started well before the global financial crisis reared its ugly head. We had the extraordinary statements from the Chief Minister. Stearns and Lehman had gone bust and Jon Stanhope said: “I am going to deliver you full surpluses. We do not have to make any savings. We do not have to have any tax reform.” Then, a couple of days later, Citibank got into trouble.