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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 7 Hansard (29 June) . . Page.. 2920..


MR QUINLAN (continuing):

relation to the amount of funding for the Academy of Sport. But that whole exercise was cleared up within the space of, say, half an hour. That did not stop Mr Stefaniak putting out what I saw as a clearly misleading press release in relation to the funding and funding cuts. I counsel members-I do not have the figures here and I am not going to dig them out-to look at the history of the Academy of Sport and to look at when numbers were cut and when numbers fell. They might find an interesting story.

Mr Pratt in his speech mentioned the divisive speeches that Mr Stanhope gives at multicultural events. It may be the case-we will just see. But if we were to say absolutely nothing in a speech, which is an art in itself, I suppose, we would become more like you lot than we would want to be. Mr Stanhope is a man of principle-a man of high principle. He is a community leader and he is an opinion leader, and maybe during the course of the upcoming election an opinion leader or a real community leader may emerge on the conservative side of politics. But I do not see one now.

Mr Pratt: An opinion leader doesn't divide the community, nor does a leader of any government.

MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Pratt!

MR QUINLAN: You are talking to military now, buddy. So between the cliches and the growing mantra we had a little bit of an assault on history in relation to child protection, and I think that was about it.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure-Part 1.5-ACT WorkCover, $6,874,000 (net cost of outputs), $258,000 (capital injection), totalling $7,132,000.

MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition) (5.44): Mr Speaker, WorkCover is a vital unit in the ACT public service to protect workers in their workplace and to educate both employers and employees in how they should be making workplace safety more of a priority. It is, of course, the enforcement body for laws such as the occupational health and safety law that was passed by the Assembly recently.

Members will be aware that I have had an interest for some time in what has been going on in WorkCover. During the Estimates Committee hearings questions were asked of the minister and her staff as to what was going on with the workers compensation supplementation fund. Assurances were sought from the minister and officers that everything was functioning well. For instance, in respect of the register of contracts, the government has a law that says contracts over $50,000 shall be posted on the web. In the last two years $600,000 and $900,000 has been spent on legal contracts by WorkCover and none of them is accessible on the web by the public. This situation, which has now reached a very serious level, is a farce. I received a letter from the Auditor-General after I had referred to her some matters concerning the workers compensation supplementation fund. She responded:

After review of the initial information from the Fund, I have decided to conduct a performance audit of the administration of the Fund, to be undertaken as soon as practicable. The proposed objectives of the audit are attached for your information.


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