Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 11 Hansard (Wednesday, 19 October 2011) . . Page.. 4614 ..
When it comes down to it, this government does not scrutinise itself. This government does not have standards. This government is on automatic pilot. We saw that yesterday when Ms Burch was censured. We have seen that time and time again this term and in the previous two terms of this Labor government. It is a government that is tired; it is a government that has lost direction; it is a government that has no respect for the taxpayers it represents.
Before any government expends $432 million—or $1—it needs to make sure that that money is being spent on a priority of the community it represents. In this case the government office building is not a priority for the people of Canberra.
MR SESELJA (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (10.50), in reply: I thank particularly my colleagues Mr Smyth and Mr Coe for their excellent contributions to the debate.
As a result of the vote that is about to happen we will have a very clear point of difference between the Labor-Greens coalition and the Liberal opposition. The Labor-Greens coalition are today voting to go down this path and build this office block. They are voting today to spend $430 million on an office block we simply do not need. I think we now have a key distinction between us and a Labor-Greens coalition that is intent on spending money on things we do not need, like a government office block, instead of the things that the community does need.
Instead of focusing on core local services, the cost of living and the serious issues affecting Canberra families, this coalition today are voting for an office block—a $430 million white elephant that we do not need. And next year, in October, people are going to have a choice. Whether or not Andrew Barr walks away from this before the election, we can just see that in about March, April, May, we will hear the government say: “Actually no, no, we weren’t serious about that. We’re not going to spend this $432 million.” Rest assured: they cannot be trusted. They are committed to this.
If this government are re-elected the people of the ACT will be saddled with this white elephant. That is what they will be getting. They will be getting an office block we do not need and, as a result of that $432 million spent, the people of the ACT will miss out on the things that they need. There will not be the money for the road upgrades, there will not be the money for their local sporting facilities, there will not be the money to invest in their schools—because you can only have so much capital and when you devote so much of your capital to a project like this, a $432 million project, other things miss out, and a lot of things will miss out if this government are re-elected and are they able to implement this plan.
Mark my words: regardless of what they say now and between now and the election, they are committed to this; it will happen if they are re-elected. When they walk away from it prior to the election, we can take that with as much seriousness as their promise not to close schools, or their promise that all their plans were on the table—when they had a secret plan to buy Calvary Hospital. Here we have the priorities of this coalition government. They want to spend taxpayers’ money. They want to slug families—families in the suburbs who are already doing it tough. Labor and the Greens are today saying to them: “We are going to continue to tax you more and more