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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 27 October 2011) . . Page.. 5161 ..

The government is doing that work, and we have been doing that work for years. We will continue to do it. We have a proud record of looking at how assistance can be targeted to those in need. At the same time, we are a responsible government. We accept that the community wants and expects high-quality services and they cost money. So governments will need to raise revenue. At the same time as they are raising revenue, they need to look at making sure that all Canberrans can share in the wealth of our community.

MR SPEAKER: A supplementary, Mr Smyth.

MR SMYTH: Chief Minister, will the government be providing a cost of living statement in next year’s budget?

MS GALLAGHER: The government has just finalised the consultation on the triple-bottom-line reporting, which I notice the Liberal Party did not provide any comments on. That document will ensure that all major government policy and decision making has been checked through the triple-bottom-line reporting. I note we get a submission from the Greens in relation to the draft document, but it is interesting that those opposite, who have not taken part in any of the consultation and policy developments for the last three years, have missed the boat on that one as well.

MR HARGREAVES: Supplementary.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mr Hargreaves.

MR HARGREAVES: Chief Minister, in the context of the cost of living effects on low income families, has the government recovered from the former Liberal government’s reduction of 1,000 units in public housing?

MS GALLAGHER: It is fair to say that some of the decisions taken by previous governments have taken a long time to turn around. We have seen it in public housing; we have also seen it in hospital beds, with the 114 hospital beds that were removed. That took years to replace. Indeed, in the last budget we saw allocation of about $21 million going into targeted assistance for those in our community who are doing it tough. That involves extra support for Housing ACT in terms of some energy efficiency programs. There was extra assistance for the taxi subsidy scheme, for the Legal Aid help desk, for the street to home program. There was also the expansion of social housing. And there was the overall concessions program. That was a very significant package that was put together in recognition of some of the costs that families in the ACT are experiencing.

Whilst the Liberal Party would just like to turn this into a political fanfare kind of argument between parties, the reality is that this is ongoing work before government. It has been for years. Members of this place have been interested in it for years. And we have the responses rolling out the door, responses that the Liberal Party voted against. You cannot go out there on the one hand and say that you are the saviour of all cost of living pressures for all Canberrans and at the same time defend your decision to vote against $22 million worth of assistance to those very families.

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