Page 2977 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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Mr Seselja: She doesn’t think you’ve explained it enough.

MS GALLAGHER: You know, when the opposition start squealing before you actually start reading your answer, that you have got a little bit of a sore spot there. It is good to hear.

Mr Seselja: I think it is extraordinary that Mary does not think you have articulated it.

MS GALLAGHER: I love the way Ms Porter has framed that question: “for the information of members” can I please outline the budget plan. It looks as though I have to, doesn’t it, boys? And Mrs Dunne; sorry. It does.

Every time they are asked they say that there is no plan, that the budget is economically irresponsible. For the benefit of members, I am very happy to stand here and go through the government’s budget plan yet again.

This budget was extremely hard to put together, as I have told members on a number of occasions—which, again, they have failed to accept or understand. The government outlined a seven-year recovery strategy for moving the territory’s budget back into surplus. The budget plan has been identified in the budget papers; it is clearly outlined in budget paper 3. We have not taken a hands-off attitude to this, Mr Speaker.

If the opposition think that seven years is too long, what do they actually think is reasonable? We do not know, because they have not got a budget plan. Is it a one-year recovery? Is it a two-year recovery? Is it a three-year recovery? Who knows? What we do know is that they think that seven years is too long, but we do not understand what they think is a reasonable time. The budget decisions, the budget plan—

Members interjecting—

MR SPEAKER: Order, members!

MS GALLAGHER: I have to say that it is the most successful dorothy when you get all of them squealing at once. When the level rises to a point where I cannot hear myself, I know I am doing my job properly. It is actually really heartening to know.

We have a budget plan. Here we have it: we have it in plain English for the opposition:

achieve a balanced budget by … 2015-16;

adopt a longer term approach to addressing the deficit;

identify annual saving targets over the forward estimates period that set the aggregate revenue and expenditure trajectories to meet over the planning period;

ensure that in restoring the surplus, core services, community safety, and risk mitigation and protection are maintained to the high standard the community expects; and—

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