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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (12 December) . . Page.. 4407..


MR CORBELL: In the coming budget. Mr Speaker, the formulation of next year's budget is still very much in its infancy. The cabinet has only met once to consider the very broad financial parameters that will guide the development of next year's budget. Of course, we do have to wait and see what feedback we receive from the broader community through the budget consultation process, and indeed through committees of this place, before we make final decisions about priorities for next year's budget.

I cannot pre-empt the outcomes of budget cabinets. It would be inappropriate for me to do so. But, Mr Speaker, I did indicate to the Estimates Committee, and indeed I indicated on budget day when I released the statement on the reduction of the indexation grants to providers in the youth services sector, that it was a one-off, and that remains the case-it is a one-off.

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Given the established educational benefit of many youth programs that are not based in schools, particularly for young people on the margins, is there any reason why some of the resources garnered from the "free school bus scheme"cannot be used to support innovative programs in the youth sector?

MR CORBELL: Mr Speaker, the government made clear that the money set aside from the Liberals' free school bus bribe would be invested in schools in the ACT and in supporting educational provision in the ACT, and they are the parameters we are working within.

I think you would be aware, Ms Tucker, that approximately $20 million of that $27 million has already been committed in this year's budget for a range of activities, including reducing class sizes, additional IT support, additional programs for students at risk, additional support for indigenous students, and a range of other important measures to improve the overall education commitment for students in schools in the ACT.

The government has sought the advice. I, as the responsible minister, sought and recently received advice from both the Government School Education Council and the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Non-Government Schooling on their priorities for the coming financial year. I will be considering that in the context of the upcoming budget, as I will be considering the advice from all other parts of the sector that I am responsible for as minister, including the youth services sector.

Qualification of financial statements by Auditor-General

MR CORNWELL: My question is to the Treasurer. The Auditor-General, in Auditor-General's Report No 7 of 2002 tabled yesterday, notes that he has qualified the territory's financial statements. Treasurer, this is a serious matter, with a significant impact on the territory's annual operating results. What will you do to resolve this fundamental disagreement between the Auditor-General and the Treasury?

MR QUINLAN: Mr Cornwell, I am presuming that you are referring to the treatment of superannuation adjustments arising out of actuarial reassessment.

Mr Cornwell: He has qualified the territory's financial statements.


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