Page 4089 - Week 13 - Wednesday, 24 November 1993

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MS FOLLETT (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (3.27): Mr Deputy Speaker, for the information of members, I present the Treasurer's quarterly financial statement for the period 1 July until 30 September 1993 and I move:

That the Assembly takes note of the paper.

Mr Deputy Speaker, the Audit Act 1989 requires the Treasurer to publish a statement of the financial transactions of the Territory public account as soon as practicable after each quarter. The statement is published in a Special Gazette and I have agreed that it also be tabled in the Assembly. The statement I now table is for the quarter ending 30 September 1993. The statement is consistent with budget paper presentations and includes some explanatory notes to assist members of the Assembly and others in interpreting aggregate transaction data. I wish to caution members at this stage about using pro rata calculations on the data. In many instances such calculations may cause distortions if used to estimate an end of year outcome.

MR KAINE (3.28): Mr Deputy Speaker, I would like to comment briefly on the quarterly financial statement that the Chief Minister has just tabled. It makes some interesting reading. While I note the Chief Minister's warning about not using the pro rata figures, I think that some of this information does require some comment because there appear to be anomalies on a pro rata basis which are not explained. That is one of my biggest difficulties with these quarterly reports, which I have commented on before. It is all very well to produce a series of tables of dollar values, but without some explanation of what they mean sometimes they raise more questions than they answer.

The first and obvious one that I would like to look at is on page 11 of the statement, Program 26, Public and Community Health. The Minister tabled a statement earlier which showed $3.07m overspent on his health budget. It is not reflected in this document. If you look at this document there is a major underspend as at the end of September. I keep asking the question: Does the Health Department run two sets of books or does it have one set of books? If the Minister can table a statement that shows the activity report for the health organisation on the same day and the figures do not add up, who is fooling whom and why? According to this statement, on the recurrent budget, a pro rata expenditure for a quarter would be almost exactly $65m; and he has, in fact, according to this, spent $64.636m.

Mr Berry: Yes, but you know the dangers of pro rata assessments.

MR KAINE: I am talking about the statement that you tabled that shows a $3.07m overexpenditure. This does not show that, Minister. It shows that you are exactly on line on your recurrent budget, and it shows that you are about $1m underexpended on your capital budget. According to this document you have underspent on your budget at this point. You have told us separately that you have a $3m overexpenditure. That raises some questions that I think the Treasurer should be looking at and explaining.

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