Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3679..
MS TUCKER (continuing):
the superannuation unit, InTACT, the insurance authority, forests, the Australian International Hotel School, ACTION, Actew and TransACT, and in more detail the committee commented on the Treasurer's Advance and review of the Financial Management Act and audit opinions of the territory's consolidated financial statements.
The committee made recommendations in particular about the need for an independent review of the FMA and particularly section 18 providing for the Treasurer's Advance. The committee recommended that regulations be established for the use of the Treasurer's Advance. It is obvious to anyone who cares to look at this report or who has followed the events that there is an urgent need to clarify this issue. The expenditure of $10 million by transferring it to Housing raises obvious questions about the definition of expenditure. While technically speaking this may not have been illegal, because it did fit with the definition of expenditure, it is obviously of concern because this use of the Treasurer's Advance did not appear to be consistent with the principles outlined for the use of the Treasurer's Advance. The auditor did not say it was illegal, only that the legality could be questioned, but I am very concerned, however, about what does appear to be a misuse of the Treasurer's Advance. It is clear that there was no secrecy or deceit involved. It was talked about by the Treasurer at budget time and the Treasurer was clearly under the impression that it was okay. He has also acknowledged since that he might do it differently now. The committee has made clear statements about what needs to happen. In line with what the auditor said, there does need to be clarification of this issue.
The committee is also concerned that the auditor decided to qualify the territory's financial statements. The Auditor-General saw this as a very important signal, that matters relating to the credibility of the financial results are being put forward to the community. I understand that there are different views about the nature of the matters on which the qualifications were based-that is in relation to valuation of superannuation liabilities and associated expenses-but it is important that these are reconciled so that we do not have future qualifications, as they do not inspire confidence in the community.
The committee has also recommended a review of the Financial Management Act. While there have been a range of useful improvements, there is potential for a conceptual review as seven years have passed since the model was introduced. I will not go into any more detail about the report. It is here for people to read and Mr Smyth has covered most of it.
Debate (on motion by Mr Quinlan ) adjourned to the next sitting.
Ordered that executive business be called on.
2002-2003 annual reports-referral to standing committees
MR CORBELL (Minister for Health and Minister for Planning) (11.07): I move:
That notwithstanding the resolution of the Assembly of 11 December 2001 establishing standing committees: