Page 2416 - Week 08 - Thursday, 6 August 2015

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To finish, Chief Minister, to you and your ministers, thank you for your attendance. Questions do not always get answered in the way we would like but at least the dialogue is there. And with constituents who come to us, the people in the ACT who come to us and have questions, their questions get aired as well as the questions politicians want answered, and that is a good thing.

That the community groups appear is always important. In particular the Youth Coalition and the RSPCA highlighted problems that they see that need rectification. There was particularly the visit from UnitingCare Kippax and the individual they brought with them who gave testimony on his life and paid testament particularly to the services offered by Kippax and how they have assisted him to turn his life around. So there was that human face. A five with nine noughts after it is incomprehensible for most people, but to hear a man speak of how Kippax, through the funds that the government provided, enabled him to connect with his family, keep in touch with his kids and support his kids puts the real face on what a budget is all about. It is about people, it is about their wellbeing, it is about where they live and it is about making sure that there is a community dividend from the budget.

It is easy for us to throw around the billion dollar lines: “This is a $5 billion budget. Isn’t it good that we spent this money?” At the end of the day it is about people. It should be about people, where they live. It should be about their wellbeing. It is about improving their environment, whether it is the built or the natural environment, and having a way to pay for it. In that regard, the process is good in allowing those groups and individuals to get their questions up.

Turning to the participating members, Mr Coe turned up, and Mr Doszpot, Mr Hanson and Mr Wall came and asked their questions. It is great that the committee enables that. I have always been of the view that all who attend get treated equally: although the members do the work, any member of the Assembly that turns up should be able to ask their questions. I will always run the committee in that way. I know we all cannot wait for 10 o’clock next Tuesday so that we can start the budget debate. How exciting it will be, as always.

Through you, Madam Speaker, to the Clerk, and through the Clerk to the secretariat, particularly, we would like to send our thanks—to Lydia Chung and Jenny Mundy, to the writers. People do not appreciate how much effort goes in. You can see the size of the report—some 330 pages now, and it grows, and 148 recs, and it grows. To Hamish Finlay, Nicola Kosseck, Dr Brian Lloyd, Ms Sarah Redden and Andrew Snedden, thank you for the way you have been able to distil what was said and put it into a readable format. To the clerks who helped Hamish Finlay, Nicola Kosseck, Brian Lloyd and Andrew Snedden, well done to you.

But the real thanks goes to the secretary of the committee, Ms Nicola Kosseck, and the assistant clerk, Ms Sarah Redden, who were there throughout the process. It is pleasing that Nicola is here with us in the chamber today. It is not an easy job herding 17 MLAs, five ministers, a couple of hundred officials and a swag of—

Mr Barr: Six ministers.

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