Page 669 - Week 02 - Wednesday, 9 March 2011

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Mr Stanhope: How many more years are they going to put up with you in opposition, mate?

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, one moment, please. Mr Stanhope, I have asked you to stop interjecting. You are now warned for repeated interjection. Mr Coe, you have the floor.

MR COE: Thank you, Mr Speaker. The fact is that this government measures its achievements on inputs. It is always on how much money you spend. Anybody can spend money. Spending it wisely is the hard thing. Actually getting something in return for the money is the hard thing. I reckon a fair bit of the $3,700 million which comprises the ACT budget could be spent better. And part of that, I think, is in the Territory and Municipal Services Department.

That is exactly what Dr Hawke said. Dr Hawke said that the creation of TAMS has failed. He said TAMS has failed. In 2006, you abolished the Department of Urban Services to bring it all in one house and now, in 2011, Dr Hawke has said that experiment has failed. For too long I think the people of Canberra have got a raw deal for their rates and taxes. We pay high rates but core urban services are not keeping pace with that rate of inflation. I think it is high time the government actually returned to the people of Canberra good value for money for core urban services in exchange for the extortionate rates, taxes, fees, fares and charges we all pay.

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (6.12): Basic urban services or, more so, the efficient delivery of these services is vital to any city. So it is refreshing to see a motion like this dealing with a core business issue that any administration should put prime focus on given these are the bread and butter concerns that affect all of us living in the city. As such, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr Coe for bringing this motion for debate into this Assembly today. It just goes to show that we, the Canberra Liberals, are getting on with the job.

Given the increased rain that we have received over the past months—225 millimetres last spring—this has been a busy time for those entrusted with maintaining Canberra’s garden city charms. In managing this, the government has reported a budget blow-out to the tune of $1.5 million. Yet in light of yesterday’s MPI which mentioned TAMS’s failure to manage its budget as identified in the Ernst & Young report, one can rightly ask why the government could not save money in the years when mowing was less needed.

The issue of today’s motion cuts to the core of TAMS’s provision of these services under the Chief Minister’s watch. There are issues of inadequate financial management, efficiency, foresight and planning and, some might add, a lack of empathy towards Canberrans. Sure enough, the government would respond with another laundry list of the money they have spent to address this issue. I am quite sure that, if pushed, the Chief Minister has a handy list where he can rattle off the government spend to cut grass or eradicate invasive weeds like blackberries, St John’s wort, African lovegrass, serrated tussock and the like. But, yet again, this is nothing more than an over-reliance of financial input as rhetoric and disregard for the more

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