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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2006 Week 13 Hansard (14 December) . . Page.. 4176..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

idiotic some of his conclusions are, to say, "Oh, yes, actually that was really rather silly of me, wasn't it? What a goose I am!"

Yesterday, Mr Mulcahy—and I acknowledge that today he withdrew his claim—was pontificating about his concern at the government's use of land sales to achieve balanced budgets, a view which he said was not sustainable. He said that "without land sales the territory would have ongoing operating deficits"and that "the long-term financial position is weakening"as a result of all of this.

Of course, one would have thought that at least a shadow Treasurer—if not every single member of the Assembly, if not the community—knows that the reason that this government moved from the Australian accounting standard to the GFS was to ensure that we did not bolster the bottom line in our position by relying on land sales to balance our budget. That was the very reason we debated ad nauseam the decision that we took: this government moved the accounting standard from the Australian accounting standard to GFS to avoid that very result.

Six months after that budget was brought down, after we had debated it endlessly and after it had been the subject of numerous questions, how could the shadow Treasurer make such a fundamental mistake as to not understand that we had completely adjusted our accounting standards—the Australian accounting standard introduced by the Liberal Party when it was in government and utilised by the Liberal Party in government for seven years? This shadow Treasurer stood up yesterday and put out this nonsense about the extent of our reliance on land sales—a reliance which we no longer have, for the very good reason that it is an unsustainable practice and it is not transparent.

But the press release goes on. There are other findings by Mr Mulcahy—shadow Treasurer genius that he is—as to why our long-term financial position was rather less desirable and attractive than one would imagine. What did he say? He said:

Amongst its findings, the Auditor General reported that there were significant weaknesses in ACT Health's control over, and reporting of, employee liabilities and associated expenses.

This was the second of the sins. What Mr Mulcahy did not report in his press release and which he has not acknowledged today is in the very next line. This is what Mr Mulcahy reports from the Auditor-General's report:

Amongst its findings, the Auditor General reported that there were significant weaknesses in ACT Health's control over, and reporting of, employee liabilities and associated expenses.

What is the next line in the Auditor-General's report? It says:

ACT Health has subsequently addressed these issues.

The issues have been corrected and addressed. Mr Mulcahy, the shadow Treasurer, says that there are these appalling weaknesses in the department of health, in its reporting of employee liability and associated expenses. Shock-horror! Another threat! This is a press release under the heading "Threat to long-term financial


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