Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 9 Hansard (19 August) . . Page.. 3339..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
allegations. I have no intention of coming in here and tabling papers relevant to my role and responsibilities in a private community-based organisation. It would be inappropriate, it would be improper—
Ms Gallagher: We wouldn't expect it from anyone else.
MR STANHOPE: and we don't ask it of you. We don't ask it of you, and we don't ask it of the Greens in this place. We don't ask, because we respect that role, we respect the privacy attaching to it and we respect the confidentiality of it, and we respect the fact that each of us, in our private lives, in a private capacity, is involved in a range of other activities. So if you have evidence or information relevant to the way in which I conduct myself as Chief Minister or as a member of this place which causes you concern, please produce it.
Government revenue collection
MS HUNTER: My question is to the Chief Minister. In recent weeks it has come to light that there are a number of cases where the collection of moneys due to the ACT government has not occurred or has been delayed due to, among other things, computer glitches. I refer to almost $11 million in outstanding rates not collected from new properties for more than 16 months and the $23 million the ACT is owed in unpaid traffic and parking fines. In addition, there was a computer glitch that affected 22,000 motorists that saw their registration renewals delayed.
Chief Minister, as responsibility for the public service and territory and municipal services lies within your portfolios, what are you doing to review and improve processing and revenue collection procedures and upgrade processing and computer systems so that the government receives all the revenue that is due?
MR STANHOPE: I thank Ms Hunter for the question—and it is a very important question. Certainly issues in relation to rates and the late collection of rates have impacted on territory revenues—delayed them. Of course, there is in relation to any delay a revenue implication in the context of interest forgone.
In relation to issues around rates and the Revenue Office, I know that the Treasurer has pursued the issue strongly and diligently and has made significant demands of her department. The minister has, indeed, publicly expressed—this is not something that we as a government have been minded to do—her disquiet at the time taken by the Treasury—the Revenue Office—to resolve the issue in relation to the late payment of rates.
Certainly, there have been issues with the technology, with the computer systems. At some level and extent, we understand and excuse that. But there certainly has been what the government and the minister regard as an unreasonable delay in resolving the computer and software issues that have arisen in relation to rates. It is an issue that has been pursued strongly.
In relation to unpaid fines—and I think the Attorney-General is far better able to respond to some of these issues—it is easy to say that there is a range of not paid or unpaid fines. Governments have a responsibility in relation to bad debts across the