Page 1787 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 4 May 2011

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Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: Just which one of those wouldn’t you do? That is the challenge.

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, Mr Smyth, we could have returned to surplus faster had we not spent an extra cent on government services. Is that realistic? Is that practical? No, it is not, and you know it. And now, if you are going to criticise—

Mr Smyth interjecting—

MS GALLAGHER: If you are going to criticise the spend, identify the things that you would not do and be honest about that.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Seselja.

MR SESELJA: Treasurer, were you not being dishonest with the community when you said on Triple 6 yesterday that the ACT had taken a one billion dollar hit when the truth is that revenue has exceeded your expectations by $1.22 billion over that period?

MS GALLAGHER: No, I was not being dishonest, Mr Speaker.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Treasurer, why have you failed to take control of ACT government expenditures? Is that not part of your job as Treasurer?

MS GALLAGHER: Yes, it is part of my job. I think, if Mrs Dunne had time to go and read the budget papers, particularly budget paper 3, which clearly outlines the budget plan, she would see the effort that has gone in through savings measures, through the expenditure review and evaluation committee, to actually keep a very close eye on government expenditure, to be constantly looking for savings.

Being a reasonable government, we also accept that government services are going to continue to grow. The health budget will grow. The education budget will grow. The emergency services budget will grow. Community services will grow. All of those areas will grow. Municipal services will grow. Whilst we are trying to recover our budget and recover it in a timely fashion, we are also expanding government services at the same time. That is what a responsible government does. That is what a responsible treasurer does—manage the budget, manage expenditure and, in this instance, in this year, outline a plan which returns the budget to surplus.

Overall, the responses that I have had on the budget from people who watch budgets—from the breakfast I attended and from the dinner I attended last night, the

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