CONSOLIDATED FUND APPROPRIATION (SUPPLEMENTARY APPROPRIATION FOR 2012-13) BILL 2013
Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - Mr President, I will make a short contribution as a lot has been covered. I have a problem with what is before us, when we have a budget and we have a budget coming up shortly, and here we are with a supplementary appropriation bill from last year. I do not see how you can call it a budget when you do not plan to meet your budget and I do not believe they plan to meet their budget in any year. You simply come up with a supplementary appropriation bill for extra money. You do not really have to worry as you open the war chest at an appropriate time. I have to say that I believe it is a war chest with some of the spending that we have in here. There are things that are good to have in nice times but I am not sure, in the bad times we have, that they are appropriate.
I will be interested to read the fourth dot point in the second reading speech, 'Measures taken by the Treasurer to rein in the growth in government expenses are working.' If they were working we would not be asking for $63 million.
I accept that this money has already been allocated, promised and spent. We do not have much choice but to approve what is before us because we read about health and the bushfires, and none of us opposes the money going to the bushfires. It was a tragedy that we did not know what was going to happen. It was one of those things when everybody gets together and tries to help and look after those people in those difficult circumstances. I have no problem in giving whatever money we need to the bushfires. That is bushfire recovery expenses and I do not think any of us can understand what those people have gone through unless we experience it ourselves.
I have issue with some of the other areas that have been mentioned and would like further advice from the leader. Looking to additional funding for tourism marketing, I am interested to have a breakdown of where some of that money is going. I notice that where it has been singling out particular minority groups for tourism operators, to show that they are friendly or they are not friendly, that we have $800 000 for the first stage, and only the first stage, of the Hollybank Reserve Mountain Bike Park. I have no problem with the first home builder boosts. That is an industry that has been hit hard and if we can encourage more jobs in the building industry, that is great. Some of the other areas that we have here - Launceston Seaport Boardwalk expansion. I think that is nice in a good time. It is in the Launceston area and I would be the first to say it is wonderful to have things in our area but some of these things we can afford when we have the money, not when we are under such difficulty. I know that the member for Windermere has a couple of items that he would like to mention that could do with some funding.
Mr Harriss - Fox task force.
Mrs ARMITAGE - I think we could gain some money back from the fox task force. But there are areas, and it has been covered very well.
I do not believe the government has reined in its growth and that it is working. They government does not appear to do budgets to meet budgets. I have been here for two years and this has happened every time it wants mega dollars to meet commitments that were unforeseen. We all have unforeseen commitments but some of the commitments here need some more detail. I agree with the member for Pembroke: if we are going to be asked to give this sort of money that is not coming out of our own pockets, money that belongs to the taxpayers of Tasmania, we need to see what it is being spent on. I do not like seeing that Economic Development, Tourism and the Arts is getting $6 700 000 without a bit of a breakdown. I would like to know where it is going, whether it is necessary now or whether it is war chest stuff and that coming up to an election the government thinks it had better give out some money - hand some out here and there just to make them look like pretty good fellows.
There is not enough detail. It is not appropriate for us to block this because it has been spent but the people of Tasmania need to know where their money is going and that it is being spent appropriately. If this were my own money I would not be giving them $63 million when I did not know where it was going. I would want to see some facts and figures to be convinced that it was necessary. It is the people of Tasmania's money and that is even more important. If I can get some more detail on some of the questions I have asked regarding some of the moneys I am happy to move that the debate stand adjourned.
Wednesday 22 May 2013
Mrs ARMITAGE ( Launceston ) - Mr President, I would like to ask the leader: why do we have a budget? Why does the government actually have a budget? There is obviously no pressure on us to keep to their budget. I have only been here two years and in both years, when they ran out of money they simply asked for more. I do not have a problem with the money for the Tasmanian Bushfire Appeal; that was a tragedy no-one could have suspected was going to happen, but why do we have a budget?
When they have seen the Premier putting $800 000 up for this, $1 million up for that, many people have asked, 'Where has the money come from? We thought there wasn't any hay in the barn. Where has she found it?' Well, she did not find it because it is not there. She has spent money that she actually has not received yet, which is a real issue, certainly for a lot of people.
Ms Forrest - You might find it in the Special Deposit Trust Fund.
Mrs ARMITAGE - I would prefer to call it a war chest, with an election coming up. In closing I will read something that was sent to me. It was suggested to me by the previous president that it is probably worth reading into Hansard at some stage, which I will do. It says: The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed, lest Rome will become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.
Attributed to Cicero - 55BC. Evidently we have learnt nothing over the past 2 068 years.