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Executive Staffing and Administration Budget

MR KAINE: Mr Speaker, I direct a question to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, I understand that this year there is a projected overrun in the Executive staffing and administration budget of some quarter of a million dollars. Are you aware of the details of this projected overrun? Can you outline the reasons for it and the steps that you have taken to bring this overrun back under control?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much, Mr Kaine. I am advised - I know that this is very hard to believe - that under the previous Government there was a projected overrun of $153,000 in salaries alone in the Executive staffing budget. To add to that, though, there was $100,000 in administrative expenses in 1994-95 alone. When you add that to the $135,000 overrun in staffing by the previous Chief Minister in 1993-94, you can see why, when the previous Government asked agencies to actually save money or try to do something about the mess in health or in other areas, they laughed, because the previous Government simply could not solve its own problems in the Executive. So, we have a $153,000 overrun in staff and another $100,000 in administration, at a time when the Government - that is, the previous Government - should have been leading by example. Since we took over government we have got rid of all SES positions in our staffing area. So, there are four SES positions gone already. The former Chief Minister had four SES positions in the Executive staffing. We have brought the administrative budget and the staffing budget back under control. There are no government cars. There are no exotic SES packages in any of our offices. Certainly, it is tough; but, if we do not lead by example - if we tell agencies, departments and others that they have to come in on budget and we cannot - we have no show, just as the previous Government had no show.

Acton-Kingston Land Swap

MS TUCKER: Mr Speaker, I address my question without notice to the Chief Minister. Will the Minister assure the Assembly that no contracts will be signed, no tenders will be let and no more taxpayers' money will be spent in relation to the demolition of buildings or other works at Acton Peninsula before the Planning and Environment Committee hands down its report?

MRS CARNELL: Thank you very much. We will continue to keep the Assembly and the committee very well informed. We are very pleased that the Environment Committee is looking at this issue. We would be looking for a report - obviously, we would be very happy to have a report as soon as possible - and I understand that that is what will happen. The arrangement with the Federal Government is in place, as I know the committee is well aware. This is something for the ACT; it is not something for the Government. It is something that we will work on together. We will be very interested to see what the committee comes forward with as to how to do this most appropriately for the ACT.

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