Page 2978 - Week 08 - Thursday, 25 June 2009

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Members interjecting—

Ms Porter: Mr Speaker—

MR SPEAKER: Order! Mrs Porter.

Ms Porter: Under standing order 37, I was wondering if you could bring the members to order, please, across the chamber.

MR SPEAKER: Treasurer, you have the floor.

MS GALLAGHER: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The final element there is:

plan for adequate growth in expenditures to meet the needs of a growing population, and in particular, in the priority service areas such as health and education.

That is the position we took in putting this budget together. We took a longer term view. I think it is longer term than the opposition would have had in their plan had they released the plan or had they actually reached any conclusions about what they should have done.

This plan allows us to take a measured, responsible and thoughtful approach to bringing the budget back to surplus. It allows the community time to work with us; it allows our agencies time to work with us to make sure that when we are seeking savings from them those savings do protect front-line services as much as possible and we put the time and consideration into those decisions prior to them being taken.

Mr Speaker, the budget committee will meet every two months to make sure that that work is being done over the next 12 months and that all the latest information is coming to the budget committee earlier rather than later so that we can put that thought into it.

In relation to the community process—I have gone into this with Ms Hunter today—we will be calling for submissions starting this process about six months early. We will call for ideas in July. I put the challenge out over the chamber: I presume the opposition will be putting forward a very comprehensive, well-thought-out submission to that process. I am sure that we will wait and see.

Mr Smyth: Like all the submissions you guys put forward in opposition. We are still waiting to get yours from several years ago.

MS GALLAGHER: Okay. Mr Smyth has just flagged that he is not going to play with us—he will not be providing—

Mr Hanson: The process is that in opposition you put forward what are called election policies leading up to the next election.

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