Page 2984 - Week 07 - Thursday, 30 June 2011

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We do need to start there. We have a responsibility to start with those individuals, with those families who are in those very low income groups—the pensioners, those who are on some sort of benefit. I was a little shocked during one debate in here when the Canberra Liberals seemed to be indicating that they are fine and we do not need to worry about those people because they have the benefit of some other concessions through Centrelink and so forth. That is just not a good enough response.

We need to be starting there. We have these energy concessions. Of course, the Greens have also been pushing that through the parliamentary agreement with the increase in the energy efficiency measures that will be put into public housing. They have been rolled out. I understand that 26 per cent of public housing properties in the ACT now have those sorts of energy and water efficiency measures put in place, which is a great outcome. There is a long way to go, but extra money has been put in this year. That was something that the Greens pushed for in this budget. We are pleased that it was responded to. That will mean that even more households will be able to reap the benefits of those energy and water efficiency measures.

And it will go broader than just public housing. It will also be available, I understand, to those who would be in the private rental market who will be able to access that scheme. That means that up to 10,000 individuals and families—households basically—will be able to have access to some much-needed funding to deal with the utility bills also from that end. So at one end we have a concession; we have some assistance when the bill comes in. And, of course, before that, we have the measures that will be put in to mean, hopefully, that when that bill comes in it is going to be less because you have got some draught proofing, more efficient showerheads or whatever measures may have been put in place. That is also a good outcome.

To conclude on the overall fiscal position and the recovery to surplus proposed, let me say that the Greens are satisfied that the approach is a reasonable response to the prevailing economic circumstances. There is a reasonable time frame for the recovery, and we must recognise the significant economic pressures that exist both domestically and internationally. We should be acting to smooth out the economic cycle rather than drastically reacting to political expediency. With those comments in mind, let me say that the Greens will be supporting this appropriation.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.8—Shared Services Centre—$9,546,000 (net cost of outputs) and $5,570,000 (capital injection), totalling $15,116,000.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.26 to 2 pm.

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