Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1813 ..
MRS CARNELL (continuing):
The next issue that was raised was that the Department of Urban Services does not have appropriate procedures to ensure that all moneys due from car park leasing contracts have been received. The Auditor-General suggested that, in relation to car park leasing contracts, audited financial statements be provided within one month of the end of the financial year. This has been agreed to by lessees. With regard to the audit suggestion in relation to the provision of cash register audit tapes, Transport Regulation has concluded that there is no benefit in obtaining voluminous records of a large number of very small transactions. Financial statements will be closely monitored to achieve a satisfactory level of accountability.
The committee was also concerned that a redundancy payment of $70,000 may not generate any savings for ACTION and the payment may have been made unnecessarily. The ACTION redundancy payment was subject to the usual payback arrangements and therefore was not made unnecessarily. The position in ACTION to which the officer was to have been transferred and the position against which the officer was substantively held in the corporate development group have been abolished.
The last issue raised by the committee was that Exhibition Park has experienced significant operating losses over recent years. Mr Speaker, the losses largely relate to the depreciation and maintenance of buildings. Exhibition Park has, in general, met its running costs. The Government has recently received a report recommending changes to improve Exhibition Park's commercial viability. The Government will release this report in due course for discussion, as this really is an important issue.
MR MOORE (3.29): Mr Speaker, I thought I would say a few words about Mrs Carnell's response to the Public Accounts Committee. I think it is a positive thing that the Government takes such care to respond to each issue raised by a committee. I am concerned about the response to the final point about Exhibition Park, particularly in the light of her Government's appropriate approach to accrual accounting. In her response to the first point about the need to increase qualified and experienced accounting resources in the ACT Government Service, she said that officers from a range of agencies have attended courses designed to increase their skills in such things as accrual accounting and financial management. Then, at the end, we have what I can only perceive as an excuse. She said:
Mr Speaker, the losses largely relate to the depreciation and maintenance of buildings. Exhibition Park is, in general, meeting its running costs.
The whole purpose of accrual accounting is to bring to the accounting process issues such as the depreciation of buildings, so that we do not have accountancy about just running costs and cash but we have accountancy that takes in the whole gamut of things that affect the viability of any organisation. The Chief Minister also indicated that there will be a further report coming on Exhibition Park. I hope that that report will not in any way use what appears to be an excuse, and reads in this paper as an excuse. I imagine that the Public Accounts Committee took this up in order to draw attention to that very issue.