Page 2172 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013
There is no doubt that efficiency gains that were made in the federal public service in the past couple of years have impacted on the territory economy. The growth rates that we have achieved would have been higher but for those efficiency dividends. It is pleasing, therefore, to see that the efficiency dividends have been wound back from four per cent to just over one per cent. As I indicated yesterday, the government will continue to focus on keeping our economy strong. We will continue to provide frontline services and support for key infrastructure projects. We will continue our support of the private sector to grow and create jobs through targeted assistance and funding.
It is interesting that in this place yesterday several of those opposite, in the motion they put forward on the budget, spent the vast majority of their time trashing the federal budget. Mr Hanson indicated some condemnation of the funding means for DisabilityCare. That was disappointing to hear. I fully anticipate, if what you see in the press is true, that the leader of the federal Liberal Party, Mr Abbott, will tonight endorse the Prime Minister’s funding model for DisabilityCare. It is interesting that Mr Hanson was so disparaging yesterday, yet tonight it is anticipated that Mr Abbott will indeed support that measure.
If you are to believe what you read in the press, he will support all of the measures contained in the budget. It will be interesting if Mr Seselja gets on the phone to Mr Abbott tonight before his speech to have him rule out pay parking in the parliamentary triangle as part of his address-in-reply. It is always open for Mr Seselja to do that. It will be an interesting test of his influence with Mr Abbott, if that is indeed the position of Mr Seselja and the Canberra Liberals in relation to that particular budget measure and, indeed, all of the other measures that go to improve the structural position of the federal budget.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (4.00): I thank Mr Coe for bringing on this MPI. It is very important. Clearly, the MPI is about the current federal budget, but if we are going to explore other budgets then I will rattle off some of the achievements of previous Liberal governments. Everybody is happy to talk about the downsides of the Howard years, but we got the National Portrait Gallery. It was a Liberal Party initiative. The National Museum of Australia was a Liberal Party initiative. Indeed, I am quite proud to have announced that one in my first speech in the federal parliament. Various memorials were built while Mr Howard was in office. We had significant upgrades to places like the Australian War Memorial, the Mint and, in particular, the first stage of the redevelopment of the National Gallery of Australia that has given us the Gandel Hall. The magnificent Indigenous galleries started under the federal Liberal government.
We saw the Barton Highway upgraded and we saw the Federal Highway upgraded. We saw assistance to the airport, as well as the myriad other works that Mr Barr rattled off. There were roads programs and assistance programs that saw things being done in the hospital and in the local neighbourhood. There was a significant contribution from the previous Liberal government. What we do not see in this year’s budget is a significant recognition of the ACT, except mainly on the negative side. We have seen the job cuts, we have seen the dilemma of the parliamentary triangle