Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (28 March) . . Page.. 1020..
MR QUINLAN: My question is directed to the Chief Minister. I refer to the Bruce special purpose financial statements as at 30 June 2000 which, by the way, were demanded by the Auditor-General in order to clarify the mishmash of reporting that otherwise would have confused the picture on the redevelopment. The report includes a substantial write-off of the capital value of the redevelopment as irrecoverable-$37 million in two years.
You are now publicly describing Bruce Stadium as a community facility, so I have to ask: why is it seen as necessary to write down the value of this asset, other than to hide the true cost of provision of this community facility? After all, so many other community facilities that depend and will continue to depend on the public purse are still recorded on the territory's books at the substantial and probably original asset value. The Canberra Hospital is at one end of the spectrum and the Cultural Facilities Corporation is at the other.
Is the criterion for writing down the value of community facilities based on the degree of embarrassment associated with the particular facility? Why is there this special accounting treatment?
MR HUMPHRIES: First of all, let me say, I ignore the emotional overlay which was included in the question. Secondly, I think that it is appropriate to record that some of the facilities that Mr Quinlan referred to have a different accounting base and are treated differently by the ACT. Did you mention the Museum and Gallery?
Mr Quinlan: The Cultural Facilities Corporation.
MR HUMPHRIES: The Cultural Facilities Corporation. I think that there is an entirely different base on which it is accounted for within the government's accounts and that is a matter that ought to be taken into account. The advice I received was that the matter ought to be recorded in that way. I accepted the advice and I think that it is appropriate to make sure that we are transparent about such things. There is nothing secretive about the way in which it is being put on the table in this case. Mr Quinlan has not had to dig through secret documents or make FOI applications to obtain the information. It is there on the public record, and that is the record on which we now rely to be able to proceed with the amendments that have been put on the table by the government.
MR QUINLAN: I have a supplementary question. Can the Chief Minister confirm that the approximate value to the people of Canberra of Bruce Stadium on its books is, at best, zero and probably of negative future value?
MR HUMPHRIES: There has been considerable debate about how to value Bruce Stadium.
Mr Quinlan: Zero seems to be the answer.
MR HUMPHRIES: I would take issue with that statement very strongly indeed. I have been out to Bruce Stadium and I have been able to sit there and enjoy-