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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2180..


MR HUMPHRIES: No, I cannot. I have not discussed this matter with ACTTAB for some time. I am not sure what the arrangements are. I will take that part of the question on notice and advise the Assembly.

Annual reports and audited financial statements

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Chief Minister. On 27 March 2001, you, Mr Speaker, tabled in this place Audit Report No 1 of 2001 in which the Auditor-General made recommendations about altering the timetable for the release of annual reports and audited financial statements in election years. The government made no response to this report.

On 3 May, not that long ago, the Chief Minister presented to the Assembly an instrument made under the Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act setting out the timetable for release of those documents in this election year. The timetable made no change to the previous schedule, in spite of the Auditor's recommendations. At that time the Chief Minister said the Labor Party should note the timetable. He said:

This year, all reports will be tabled during the first six sitting days following the scheduled 2001 Assembly election.

Yet yesterday, in a somewhat hysterical media release, the Chief Minister said the government "would honour its commitment to bring forward the release of government annual reports so they can be scrutinised publicly before the October election".

My question to the Chief Minister is: when did the government make its commitment to bring forward the release of annual reports and audited financial statements and why was there no announcement of the commitment?

MR HUMPHRIES: Mr Speaker, there was an announcement of that commitment some time ago, in fact, when the Labor Party-in fact, Mr Quinlan-asserted that we intended to ignore the Auditor-General. I made clear that we intended to agree with what the Auditor had said about bringing forward these reports. That was the time at which the announcement was made. It will be on the public record, if you care to go and check it, Mr Hargreaves. If you are too lazy to do so, I will do it for you.

MR HARGREAVES: Ouch, Mr Speaker! My supplementary question is: when was the Chief Minister telling the truth about the government's intention in relation to the release of the annual reports and audited financial statements-in the Assembly on 3 May or yesterday?

MR SPEAKER: I am sorry; you will have to rephrase that, otherwise it will be out of order.

MR HARGREAVES: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I accept your guidance and will rephrase it. Which was the accurate statement-that the government wasn't going to release them, which was the statement on 3 May, or yesterday, when they were going to release them?


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