Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 13 Hansard (4 December) . . Page.. 4380..
MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it is absolutely fascinating that those opposite can make comments on this sort of thing when we are, for the first time, giving full documentation. As I understand it, I am required to give quarterly reports and I am required to give them within three sitting days of my actually receiving those documents. That is exactly what was done. The reason it was tabled when it was was simply that I tried to get it onto the table as quickly as I could. It was not actually three working days, from memory; I think it was only two. If I had not tabled it then, it would have meant that members did not have it for another week or so. Yes, it was tabled, Mr Speaker. It was tabled, as I am required to table it, within three sitting days of actually receiving the document; and we will continue to do that.
We will certainly be looking at monthly statements as well - all those sorts of things that those opposite never managed to put on the table, information that the people of Canberra for the first time have access to. I think that is a pretty big step in the right direction, and I think those opposite should be saying, "Thank you, Government, for giving us this full information, information that never existed before". This is a big step in the right direction. We believe this is, shall we say, something that takes us a long way towards transparency in government.
MR WHITECROSS: I have a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Minister, after you have read the Financial Management Act, will you come in here and apologise for misleading the house? Will you confirm that you failed to comply with the Financial Management Act by not fulfilling your requirements?
Mr Humphries: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: It is outside the terms of the standing orders to accuse people of misleading the house, and I would ask that Mr Whitecross be asked to withdraw it.
Mrs Carnell: I am happy to answer it, though.
MR SPEAKER: No. Mr Whitecross, I would like you to withdraw "misleading the house".
MR WHITECROSS: I withdraw it, but I look forward to Mrs Carnell's apology. Will you also confirm that you have failed to comply with the Financial Management Act because your quarterly statement, not your monthly statement, also fails to contain a statement of cash flows to the Territory, as required under the Act? Can you advise the Assembly whether you will be presenting future monthly statements on a quarterly basis or whether they will be monthly, in accordance with the Act?
MRS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, section 26 of the Financial Management Act 1996 does require the Treasurer to prepare whole-of-government financial statements each month in a form comparable to estimates contained in the year's budget papers. The Government's 1996-97 budget presents full accrual information, as everybody will be aware. Monthly statements will now be prepared in a comparable accrual format. Monthly statements will also include off-budget government agencies such as Territory-owned corporations - stuff that we never had before. The first whole-of-government report was based on the position at the end of September and was