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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 May 2007) . . Page.. 727 ..


have ordered the suppression of capital works reports. As my spokesperson indicated in that particular report that the Leader of the Opposition refers to, it is indeed the case, I am advised, and I think members are aware, that the provision of public capital works reports is not a legislative requirement.

It is a fact that the government has not tabled a quarterly capital works report in the Assembly since September 2005. It is interesting, of course, that it has taken the Liberal Party 18 months to notice, but I guess that is consistent with the attention to detail that is a feature of the opposition in this place. The practice of tabling capital works reports was discontinued at that time. But that does not mean that the fact that a particular quarterly report that was previously tabled is not tabled. That discontinuance does not, of course, mean that the provision of information in relation to capital works has ceased at all. It is just that that particular avenue—namely, a quarterly capital works report, which was one of the avenues that one might have pursued to seek advice or information on capital works—is no longer available; but, of course, there are other avenues available to members.

The quarterly capital works report format was, as I have said, considered, I think, early in that particular financial year that I referred to, from which the discontinuance emanated as part of a review of budget related requirements. The reports were certainly not user friendly. They were largely comprised of very complex spreadsheets that listed individual projects and funds spent against a particular project as at a certain date. The reports were determined and—I think it was always thus—were essentially structured and formed to inform internal government or agency use. Public information available in regard to capital works programs can, however, still be found in the government’s budget papers, including information regarding estimated outcomes. Actual outcomes, of course, are reported in agencies’ annual reports and tendering, and contractual information can be found in the government’s procurement website base at act.gov.au.

The public are also, of course, provided quite regularly with information with regard to high-interest or high-profile projects by agencies through a number of forums, including through project updates, which are included on departmental websites, and through media releases. The government continues to collect information and develop the quarterly capital works reports as an internal management tool and the reports are now used to advise government in a more informed manner.

As I said, five quarters passed before the opposition actually noticed or bothered to raise a question in relation to the fact that quarterly reports were not being published. It took the opposition a year and a half to realise that this particular format was not available and for very good reasons. Quarterly reports are on file, and if there is a specific need or reason for them to be released then of course they could be released.

MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, why are you allowing bureaucrats under your control to adopt a policy contradicting your commitment to the public to be open and accountable?

MR STANHOPE: As I said, there are a number of avenues available—particularly to members in this place and to the public—to identify and assess capital works projects and progress in relation to expenditure on capital works projects. There are significant


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