Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 7 Hansard (22 August) . . Page.. 1842..
DR FOSKEY (continuing):
The whole process has become decidedly tainted. In the process, it appears to have tainted some ministers, and probably commissioners and public servants along the way. But it is not particularly useful to just seek to find blame. We have people using the media to blame each other. That is not particularly constructive and does not tell us anything more than we already know. I think that the public does want to know exactly what went on here. I am interested to hear from the Auditor-General, who is doing an investigation. That will certainly help us understand.
At the moment, I feel that, while Mr Corbell's motion is probably correct, it does not really take us anywhere. I would like to see added onto it something that says that Mr Corbell will report to the Assembly by the end of, say, September, given that the fire season begins the day after that.
Mr Corbell: We will respond to the Auditor-General's report.
DR FOSKEY: I do not know when the Auditor-General's report is coming out. I feel that there is perhaps a need for an interim response before the Auditor-General's report comes out—if the Auditor-General's report is not going to be out in time for that to occur—because it looks as though we are moving into a fire season that is at least equivalent to the fire seasons we have had in previous summers. It is true that there is less to burn, and that is some kind of ironic protection.
We are moving, I hope. I feel that this minister has got a handle on the emergency services portfolio. I do have some confidence, but that confidence is just based on the fact that I think Mr Corbell does now know what is going on. When he made those comments in response to Mr Smyth's question, he may not have known what was going on to the extent he does now. I believe that it is safer to indicate the areas where one is not well informed. But I think that now we do have that attention to the detail. Mr Corbell could probably help a lot if he told us what was going on. I suggest that he report by the end of September. I am not moving that as an amendment; I am just putting that as a suggestion. As it stands at the moment, I find it difficult to support the motion or the amendment to the motion.
Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.
Sitting suspended from 12.28 to 2.30 pm.
Questions without notice
MR STEFANIAK: My question is directed to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. You used a forecast of an $80 million deficit for the 2006-07 budget as a reason to sharply increase taxes and charges, and close schools and other community facilities such as the Griffith library. However, your budget forecast was wildly off the mark, as the government finished with a $117 million surplus.
The Canberra Times reports that Phil Lewis of the University of Canberra accused you of peddling "dodgy numbers"and of poor economic management. It continues by