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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 March 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1079 ..

apply to this project as, of course, it applies to every capital project of any cabinet of any government anywhere in Australia.

I think if it is not part of economics 101 then it is certainly part and parcel of being a minister, a member of a cabinet or a member of a government to understand that the process of escalation that applies to every capital project—namely, the tool of net present value and tools in relation to discounted cash flows—is applied in such projects, including this particular project. Escalation or indexation is part and parcel of every single capital works project the government has committed to. It was stated explicitly that it was part and parcel of this particular project.

At the end of the day, when the escalator is determined by Treasury, we will have an additional figure. If we were to do it today we would have a cost as of March 2005, as opposed to the $110 million. We currently have a cost of $110 million as of March 2003. We could work out an escalator today and give you a cost as of March 2005. We will be building the prison in 2007 and we will have a cost then. It was factored in, it was always accepted; we have always known that an escalator or indexation would apply to this project; and we will meet that indexation or escalator through the normal budget processes.

Interestingly, another aspect of Mr Stefaniak’s press release in relation to this, which is also wrong, was the claim that the ACT government had misled the opposition in a document which it received under the Freedom of Information Act. That, of course, was an incoming government brief which Mr Stefaniak received through FOI and which he claims is an ACT government document that contained misleading information around recurrent cost.

Government briefs are produced pursuant to the caretaker conventions. They are produced by the public service; they are not government documents; they are not seen by ministers; they are not prepared by the government; they are not approved by the government—the government does not, in fact, see them. An incoming government brief prepared against the potentiality of the Liberal Party, in this case, winning government is a caretaker convention document. It has no status; it is a draft. In this instance it was never used, utilised or delivered because, of course, the Liberal Party did not win the election. We know why they did not win the election. It was because people voted as if their lives depended on it. That is why they did not win the election.

There is another aspect of this document that the Liberals received under the Freedom of Information Act—the incoming government brief that they would have received if they had won the election. Now, I support and defend the public service absolutely but I have this dread, mischievous fear that the public service took the odds to it. They knew that this mob were not going to win the election and they really did not put much effort into the preparation of the incoming government brief because they knew it was a document that would never be used.

Mr Speaker, I ask that all further questions be placed on the notice paper.

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