Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 11 Hansard (17 September) . . Page.. 4215..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
The commonwealth have dictated the time frame to us. But please be assured that we are not talking about exploding it out in the green field. We are doing urban consolidation, but that brings challenges too.
I take the points that Ms Le Couteur makes; I think they are very valid ones. I thank her for the contribution.
Capital works projects
Discussion of matter of public importance
MADAM ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Ms Burch): Mr Speaker has received letters from Ms Bresnan, Ms Burch, Mr Coe, Mr Doszpot, Mrs Dunne, Mr Hanson, Ms Hunter, Ms Le Couteur, Ms Porter, Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth proposing that matters of public importance be submitted to the Assembly. In accordance with standing order 79, Mr Speaker has determined that the matter proposed by Mr Hanson be submitted to the Assembly, namely:
Financial management of capital works projects.
MR HANSON (Molonglo) (4.03): I rise on this matter of public importance today to speak about this government's record on managing capital works projects, particularly the cost blow-outs, the delays, the under-delivery and, indeed, the non-delivery of mismanaged projects because of the Labor Party's ineptness. Having heard the ramblings of the minister for the last 15 minutes on social housing, is it any wonder? Indeed, this government's record on delivering capital works projects is woeful. While this government wastes no time in closing public schools and libraries, when it comes to managing and delivering on public works and major projects on time, on scope or on budget, this government simply cannot do it. It is incapable.
Before I go through some specific examples of this, let me just back up what I am saying with some evidence. What we will look through is the budgets for the duration of this government in terms of what they promised they would be spending and what they did spend.
When this government first came to power in 2001-02, they promised expenditure of $165.5 million and the underspend was $55 million. That is 33 per cent—a third—of the budget that was not spent. In 2002-03, the promised expenditure was $153 million and the underspend was $56 million—37 per cent. They are getting worse, as that is over a third. In 2003-04, the promised expenditure was $169 million—I guess they were trying to play catch-up—and $61 million was not spent. That is 36 per cent. In 2004-05, they really went to town and promised $247 million in capital works. But the underspend was $118 million—48 per cent. Nearly 50 per cent of what was promised by this government to be expended on capital works was not spent. In 2005-06, the budget was $314 million and the underspend was $151 million—48 per cent. In 2006-07, the underspend was $135.3 million—38 per cent—and last year, the 2007-08 budget, the figure was $107.4 million. If you needed any proof or evidence that this government simply cannot deliver on capital works, that demonstrates it clearly at the outset.