In the big picture, Andrew Barr's first budget as chief minister is measured and unsurprising, careful and relatively conservative. A lid is kept on spending, while sensible spending is outlined in health, especially, and in important projects like bushfire protection.
The $160 million for 352 new public housing units finally puts money on the table for the large-scale renewal of the city's housing stock, with the government selling off valuable blocks in Red Hill, the city and Northbourne Avenue, and moving the public housing tenants out of what all agree are sub-standard homes. Where they go is another matter, and arguments are set to ignite across those suburbs that Barr is so keen to paint himself a part of.
There's also a much-trumpeted focus on worthy clean-ups and small suburb-improving projects. But despite Barr's determination to cast himself as the "mayor of Canberra", focused on municipal services, his budget is bound in the end to irritate.
It has a relentless focus on fees and charges, most inexplicably the introduction of paid parking in the city on evenings and on the weekends. If you try to park your car in London Circuit, near the Civic Pool, on the Acton Peninsula, or near the Canberra Institute of Technology, you'll pay, right through till 10.30pm.
It's expected to raise a not-very-huge $1.3 million a year. For the political pain in the form of irritated Canberrans, you'd have to wonder whether it's worthwhile. It is, though, an indicator of where things are heading with the coming of the tram. Parking is not only a revenue raiser, but a tool to change behaviour, getting people out of cars and onto public transport. The government is also pushing up parking fees and fines each year to reinforce the point.
Another irritation for homeowners is the ongoing increase in rates - 9 per cent this year, adding an average $150 to the annual bill, and coming on top of 10 per cent last year and 10 per cent the year before. This is about offsetting the reductions in stamp duty on house purchases and insurance taxes, as Barr phases out what he describes as some of the most inefficient taxes on state and territory books. The money to make up for the loss of those taxes is coming from rates, a much more stable and predictable income source and one that doesn't discourage people from buying property. But try convincing householders whose bills are relentlessly climbing and set to continue on that path for many years to come.
On top of that $150 average increase from July, the rates bill will also demand another $66 for the fire levy, and that's another one to rise year on year, with $40 increases each year in the forward estimates.
So much for irritating bills. Barr has delivered a budget that he will be pleased with. He keeps the deficit from blowing out further and still manages to forecast a surplus in the final year of the forward estimates, 2018-19. And he has avoided controversial projects. City to the Lake starts appealingly with a park - the potentially highly annoying high-rises come later. The new stadium rates not a mention. Nor the swimming pool, which with its grandiose ideas of separating and heating part of the lake for an urban beach. For all its glamour, this one is an easy eye-roller and Barr has sensibly decided it is a project for his next term in government. The failure to deliver a new convention centre will irritate the business community, but it will be placated by $5.4 million of upgrades to the existing convention centre and by Barr's insistence that he is working hard to secure Commonwealth or other funding for a one. All in all, it's not a bad start for the new chief minister.