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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 3 Hansard (26 March) . . Page.. 661..


PLANNING AND ENVIRONMENT - STANDING COMMITTEE
Report on Draft Capital Works Program

MR MOORE (4.35): Mr Speaker, I present Report No. 10 of the Standing Committee on Planning and Environment, entitled "The Government's 1996-1997 Draft Capital Works Program", together with a copy of extracts from the relevant minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Pursuant to the resolution of the Assembly of 1 June 1995 as amended on 24 August 1995, the report was circulated when the Assembly was not sitting, on 11 March 1996.

Mr Speaker, I think it is appropriate, as part of the response to the draft capital works program, for me, first of all, to thank the other members of the committee and particularly the secretary of the committee, who did a tremendous amount of work to ensure that this report was completed within a very tight timeframe. The Chief Minister and Treasurer had requested that we report by 19 February 1996. Indeed, as it turned out, Mr Speaker, that timeframe was not possible; but I believe that the committee did particularly well to have the report circulated on 11 March 1996.

A number of very important issues come out of this report, Mr Speaker. I think the first thing that I should say about the report itself is that we recognise the improved work of the Government in presenting material to the committee. There is, of course, always room for more improvement, and we have made some suggestions for that. But the level of detail and the setting out of the material that was presented to the committee this year were major improvements on previous years, and the committee certainly appreciated the effort that had gone into the preparation of that material so that we could understand what was going on.

Mr Speaker, one of the important suggestions of this committee is that:

the Government require its off-Budget agencies to submit their draft annual capital works program to both Government and this committee, in the same manner and according to the same timetable that applies to other agencies (to commence in 1997) ...

Mr Speaker, it is very important for us to recall that, although the whole of the capital works budget appears to be presented to us, there are two notable areas of very large expenditure that were not looked at by the capital works committee. The first of those is ACTEW and the second is the Housing Trust. It seems to me, Mr Speaker, that taxpayers' money, in whatever form - even if we do call it off-budget - that is spent on capital works ought to be examined by this Assembly through its committees on behalf of the people of Canberra. So we look forward to a very positive response there.


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