Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 3726..
MR SESELJA (continuing):
ministers share responsibility. We just need to look at some of the findings to see the real concerns. I suppose the reason why this government was reluctant to make this report public is that we see this post-merger environment, this lack of clarity and alignment regarding accountability for performance from the ministerial level down to the service delivery level. That makes it difficult for the department to balance its overall priorities, risks, accountabilities and financial management responsibilities. That is a fairly damning finding, a finding that says that from the ministerial level down to service delivery there is a lack of clarity and alignment regarding accountability for performance.
What that is saying at the ministerial level is that they do not have the clarity they need and they do not have the alignment they need and, therefore, they do not have the accountability of performance. That is exactly, it would appear to me, what the ministers want. They want to take no responsibility, but they are responsible. This Ernst & Young report puts that into stark focus. We see a number of others in relation to financial transparency: corporate overhead cost allocation to business enterprises is not transparent.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne): Order, Mr Seselja. Chief Minister, if you want to have a conversation, could you do that outside or considerably lower your voice? I cannot hear Mr Seselja.
MR SESELJA: Thank you, Madam Assistant Speaker. The report goes on to say that the finance function has no sufficient authority to exercise physical direction and control. The TAMS financial management system is not effective, which results in limited visibility of where and how the moneys are being spent. It goes on to say that a perception of limited consequences exists for overspending. That is a very important statement, and I think this is something that pervades this entire government—that is, there are limited consequences. This government has assumed that revenue would always grow at the extraordinary rates that we have seen in the past few years.
If we look forward in the budget estimates, even as we see significant revenue growth, this government is still planning on having the budget in deficit. So we see here in this analysis of TAMS and this analysis essentially of the various ministers who are in control, because they are answerable for the performance of their agencies, a microcosm of the attitude that pervades the ACT government under the Labor Party here right now. We see it from the Treasurer, we see it from the Chief Minister, we have seen it from the former minister for TAMS, and we see no indication from this minister that things will indeed be any different.
We do need to ask the question: if we were to have an Ernst & Young style review into other areas, would we indeed—
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: Order, Chief Minister.
Mr Stanhope: On a point of order, Madam Assistant Speaker: I did not hear what you said.
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER: I said: can you be quiet, please.