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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 1 Hansard (16 February) . . Page.. 311..

(b) 40 inspections resulted in a hazard being identified and a notice issued thus far for 2005/06.

(7) Of the 88 notices issued, 72 have been complied with and the hazard removed. Currently, there are 14 notices awaiting the initial 14 days compliance period, one final notice awaiting the 14 day compliance period, and one other final notice that has not been complied with. In relation to the latter notice, the ACT fire Brigade is making arrangements to have the flammable material removed. Generally, the public are actively complying with requests to remove flammable material.

Public service-consultants

(Question No 829)

Mr Smyth asked the Chief Minister, upon notice, on 14 December 2005:

(1) What action is the Government taking to reduce the amount of spending on consultants and contractors being used by the ACT Government;

(2) Is this action working, given the Government recently corrected the figure of $117 million spent on "Consultant Fees, Contractor Payments and Professional Services"in 2003-04 Consolidated Annual Financial Statements to $153 million in the 2004-05 Consolidated Annual Financial Statements;

(3) What is the reason for $36 million of expenditure being misclassified, in 2003-04, from "cost of goods sold"to "supplies and services";

(4) What action has been taken to ensure that the misclassification of such a large amount of spending is not repeated;

(5) Did the ACT Auditor General have any comments to make on this misclassification; if so, what were these comments;

(6) Is the Government still committed to reducing the large expenditure on "Consultant Fees, Contractor Payments and Professional Services"in 2005-06.

Mr Stanhope

: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The Government has established a joint working party with the Unions representing ACT Government employees to provide advice to the Joint Council on strategies to minimise the use of consultants and contractors across the ACT Public Service. The Working Party met three times in 2005 and identified no problems with the Government's use of consultants and contractors.

(2) Any action being undertaken by the Government to reduce the amount of spending on consultants and contractors is independent of the accounting treatment used to recognise that type of expenditure.

(3) As indicated in the Treasurer's response to Question on Notice 46, Annual and Financial Reports 2004-05, Standing Committee on Public Accounts (25 November 2005), the $36 million increase in 'Consultant Fees, Contractor Payments and Professional Services', from the $117m presented in the 2003-04 Annual Financial Statements, is due to a change in the classification of expenses - not due to a misclassification.

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