Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 6 Hansard (13 June) . . Page.. 1602..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
I think it also worth noting that there is another piece of relevant information here. Mrs Burke asked me about whether there was a year where that level of improvement had been exceeded. Indeed there is, Mr Speaker. In 1999-2000 the operating position of the government improved from an operating loss-and, of course, Mr Quinlan finds some reason to have a conversation with Mr Stanhope-of $161.6 million to a surplus of $81.3 million. That is an improvement over the space of a single year of not $170 million but $242.9 million.
Mr Stanhope: Who wrote this?
MR HUMPHRIES: Actually, the Auditor-General wrote most of it, come to think of it. He wrote those figures. He verified those figures in his audits. So, to answer your question, Mr Stanhope, he wrote those figures.
The question is: why did Mr Quinlan say in 2000 that an improvement of $242 million beggars belief? Why? Because he knew it was true. If he knew that we could make $242 million in a single year, he certainly must have know that we could make $170 million. I look forward to Mr Quinlan indicating his apology for having doubted the government on this question.
MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. Since the presentation of the budget a couple of events have taken place. First, it has emerged that the government intends to press on with the establishment of a local prison; and the second is, of course, the HIH collapse-HIH, CIA, remember your mates-and the need to put aside $30 million because the money in the workers compensation fund was quite inadequate to cover the losses that we now know have transpired. How do these two events impact upon the future bottom line, particularly the cash bottom line, in your forward estimates, given that there does not appear-and please correct me if I am wrong-to be any accounting in the budget for the overlapping expense of housing prisoners in New South Wales while we construct a prison in the ACT and, of course, the collapse of HIH? Given that the budget was perilously tight in its treatment of cash, how do these events affect the bottom line?
MR HUMPHRIES: I thank Mr Quinlan for that question. Let me start by saying first of all that I reject the assertion that the HIH corporation was somehow the government's mate. I do not know anybody in HIH-I do not think I want to know anybody in HIH by the sound of their behaviour in the last little while.
Mr Quinlan: Rodney Adler was a good mate of your government, mate.
MR HUMPHRIES: I am not aware that any member of the government has any relationship with HIH either. Mr Speaker, I have never met Mr Adler. I do not think anyone in my government has had any relationship with HIH.
MR SPEAKER: Is that the harmonica player?