Page 3092 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 14 August 2012

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Whilst there are sections of the report prepared by the committee as a whole that are acceptable, from my point of view the inquiry into the Appropriation Bill 2012-2013 has highlighted many failures that must be documented.

As my colleague Mr Smyth and I have highlighted in our dissenting comments, what has become apparent throughout the current estimates process is the failure of this government to implement sound financial policies that could hold the territory in good stead in the face of external financial pressures. They have failed to halt a significant increase in taxes and charges across the board. The current ACT Labor government, with the support of the ACT Greens, have earned us the title of the highest taxing government in territory history and the highest taxing government on a per capita basis in the country.

There are other matters that cannot go unreported at this time; notably, the failure of the current government to manage our health system despite the substantial portion of the budget devoted to this area. This government has failed to protect all the vulnerable children in the care of the territory. Again, despite the resources, this government has not ensured that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for the delivery of this vital service.

Throughout the estimates process evidence was provided showing that bullying is becoming systemic throughout the ACT public service. The government has taken a head in the sand approach to cases of bullying within its agencies on more than one occasion, and we must stand up for the many victims of this bad culture.

It was interesting that Mr Hargreaves was talking earlier about bullying. As Mr Smyth mentioned, there were one or two occasions when either Mr Smyth or I had to raise the conduct of Mr Hargreaves during that committee. In fact, in one instance when I was asking questions of the minister for planning on an issue about a family in Belconnen who have been living seven or eight months without a roof because of red tape, it was Mr Hargreaves who chimed in with “tell them to get a bucket”. That was Mr Hargreaves’s response to a family with three kids under the age of three, living in a house without a roof because of this government’s red tape: “Go and get a bucket.” Only when I brought this to the committee’s attention did Mr Hargreaves apologise. It is a bit rich of Mr Hargreaves to be accusing others when he is guilty of the very thing that he is accusing us of doing.

In conclusion, I commend my colleague, the shadow treasurer, Mr Smyth for his leadership and the application of his experience and I urge all people in this place to consider the words presented in the dissenting report.

Debate (on motion by Mr Barr) adjourned to the next sitting.

Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee

Scrutiny report 54

MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra): I present the following report:

Justice and Community Safety—Standing Committee (performing the duties of a Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation Committee)—Scrutiny Report 54, dated 6 August 2012, together with the relevant minutes of proceedings.

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