Page 2108 - Week 06 - Thursday, 7 May 2009

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The Greens are concerned about all of the citizens of Canberra, which includes those in correction facilities. And we are very concerned about the lack of funding that appears to be there for through-care and aftercare services to the Alexander Maconochie Centre population. It is so important to provide these services if we are to decrease the rate of recidivism. I think there is an expectation out there that that be provided to the community organisations who are already under increasing demand for services.

However, we do welcome the funding in proactive and diversionary rehabilitative justice programs, the funding for the Legal Aid Commission to establish an elder law project. We also welcome the extra funds that are going to the Director of Public Prosecutions. This is a highly stressful area of work. They perform a vital service to the ACT community and, therefore, we welcome it.

We also, of course, welcome an increase in the community fire units. We know in recent years how vital this service is to the ACT community.

So the Greens welcome this budget. It is fitting that in difficult global economic circumstances we increase spending and support our regional economy. It is vital for Canberra’s future that spending is not just for spending’s own sake. We have a once-in-an-economic-cycle opportunity to ensure that this burst of activity in infrastructure helps put us on a pathway to environmental and social sustainability. It is now time for new thinking, to try a different way; to establish the new, green economy which will provide direction on how we will manage any forthcoming downturns, while ensuring a sustainable and viable future.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (3.44): Madam Assistant Speaker, this is a budget which ignores the time in which it has been presented. This is a budget that fails to provide leadership, and this is a budget that shows that the Treasurer is simply not up to the task. The Treasurer has squibbed the hard decisions. This is a budget without ideas and a budget without a plan. If you look for a deficit reduction strategy, there is not one. If you look for a tax reform strategy, it is missing. If you look for an employment strategy, there is none. If you look for a wages strategy, there is none. If you look for a strategy for achieving savings in expenditure, it is, “Wait, form a committee and hope.” If you want a debt management strategy, there is none. If you want a cash management strategy, there is none. If you look for a strategy for managing the capital works program, it is simply, “Promise more and deliver less.” If you are after a business encouragement strategy, there are funding cuts and the finalisation of programs. If you look for a business regulation reduction strategy, there is none. If you look for a strategy for the management of the superannuation provision account, there is none. There is a chapter in the budget papers called “The budget plan”. But a plan or a strategy without actions, without goals and without a definite path to success is not a plan at all.

The community has been looking to the Stanhope-Gallagher government for leadership, and what did they get? A Treasurer and a Chief Minister who have failed to provide leadership and comprehensively failed to take responsibility for the circumstances in which we find ourselves. We have a Chief Minister and a Treasurer

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