Page 3459 - Week 09 - Thursday, 20 August 2009
Mr Coe: What are you saying about Joy and Mary?
MR BARR: Well, there we go. If that is the way politics is going to be played in this place, if that is what we have been elected here to do, terrific! Go for your life!
Ms Hunter: Point of order, Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: Point of order, Mr Barr; sit down.
Ms Hunter: The minister was not answering the question. He was not directly relevant in his answer.
MR SPEAKER: Minister Barr, do you have anything further to add?
MR BARR: No; I have sat down.
Department of Territory and Municipal Services—budget
MR COE: My question is to the Chief Minister. It has been revealed that for the second year TAMS has blown its budget. Over the last two years, TAMS has obtained $18 million as part of the Treasurer’s advance. In the 2009-10 budget, $5 million is provided in additional funding for municipal services over this year for short-term additional expenditure. Will $5 million be enough to cover your shortcomings given the past overruns of well in excess of $5 million and do you take responsibility for this budget blow-out?
MR STANHOPE: It is certainly the case that the Department of Territory and Municipal Services required some budget supplementation to deal with some significant base cost pressures as a result of the increase in the work that they do, most particularly in relation to the management of parks, conservation and lands and in relation to the provision of some additional services for libraries. They were the two major areas of budget pressure that were dealt with. Certainly, it is the government’s expectation that agencies do work within budget, and Territory and Municipal Services are working very hard to ensure that they do that.
They face, of course, some very significant challenges in that regard. Our reserves and, indeed, all the major work of Territory and Municipal Services have expanded. The work expands every time, of course, that the population increases; it expands significantly every time a new suburb is developed. It is a significant issue for the government.
Canberrans have every right to expect the highest possible standard in municipal services, and Canberra provides a very high standard. But in the context of the beautifully designed city that we have inherited, we have inherited with the design some significant challenges in relation to the size of the city, the nature of the city, the extent to which the city occupies a very significant footprint. It is interesting, Mr Coe—and this goes very directly to your question—