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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 29 June 2010) . . Page.. 2734 ..


“Are we getting value?” is the question for this line of expenditure. “Are we getting value for money? Is the taxpayer getting value for money for the money that is being expended on the ACT executive, the $6.345 million on the ACT executive?” On that alone, on the case study of Mr Corbell, we could argue perhaps not. We have not seen the delivery of projects. We can go back and forth about a lot of the various issues that we disagree on but one would have thought that a very reasonable thing for committees to be asking of ministers of the ACT executive is for some basic transparency around their budget and their budget process. We simply have not got it.

There are a range of non-answered questions. I refer to some basic questions of the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, the Chief Minister: “How much are you budgeting for internet, telecommunications, travel for senior executive staff, printing, paper?” It is a pretty basic list. The reply was:

This level of detail is determined at the beginning of each year for that year, therefore this information is not available for future years.

We have another example of where a minister has not done the work or is refusing to tell us what work has been done to actually tell us what they are going to be spending. We asked ACTPLA. We asked the Minister for Planning:

Output programs for ACTPLA;

1.

Please provide a list of initiatives or programs that are run under each output.

That is a fairly basic question. The reply was:

To extract the information in the form requested would require a significant diversion of resources.

What have they been doing in the lead-up to the budget? Why would they not have done this work? Why would they not have done this work in relation to their budgets? We would expect that, instead of simply asking for a bucket of money and saying, “We will tell you later on how we are going to spend it,” they would actually have done the budgets. By the time we get to 29 June, by the time we get to the end of the financial year, we would expect that ministers would have been able to quantify for us in some level of detail exactly how they propose to spend taxpayers’ money. And we have not seen it. We have not seen it from minister after minister. They were giving these non-answers to questions.

Mr Corbell spent a lot of time searching through the records to try to find the things that had been delivered on time and on budget, to show us—the water-saving showerheads and the cupboard—but he did not spend the time actually answering basic questions about this year’s budget, about the budget we are being asked to pass.

This Assembly is being asked to pass this budget, and the government are saying, “Pass it on trust.” If we were to go on their previous record we would not, in any way, trust that they will be looking to save taxpayers’ money, that they will be looking to


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