Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 7 Hansard (18 October) . . Page.. 1814 ..
MR MOORE (continuing):
When I was a member of the Public Accounts Committee - Mrs Carnell was also a member - we did work on accrual accounting. As I recall - Mr Kaine and the Chief Minister may correct me - we brought down a unanimous report recommending a move to accrual accounting as quickly as possible. That move has been advocated also by the Auditor-General and, largely, has been accepted by the Government. I think that if we are going to be in the right frame of mind for this sort of thing we must not make excuses for any sector within the Government that does not work in a viable way. Their excuse is, "Well, that is not recurrent. It is just part of our running costs. We got them okay and the depreciation and so forth does not matter". It does matter. It is important that such organisations are running appropriately. It is important that we have appropriate procedures to ensure that such organisations are fully accountable.
MRS CARNELL (Chief Minister and Treasurer) (3.32), in reply: I take Mr Moore's points on board with great pleasure. It is true that the current operation of EPIC is less than satisfactory. I think the point I was trying to make in that last statement was that just meeting operating costs and not really getting the whole of EPIC's operating structure up to some sort of commercial viability is simply unacceptable. Maintenance of the buildings, getting the buildings up to scratch so as to be able to handle future development, simply has not been happening. Mark Baker, the chief executive of the Advance Bank, was appointed to bring down a report. That report is currently with the board of EPIC. There are, I think, some 26 recommendations which will bring EPIC up to a situation where it will achieve commercial viability. That takes into account depreciation of buildings and future capacity for the centre to generate substantially more business within three years. That is what we are looking at at the moment. The total amount of money that probably will be needed to be spent over that three-year period may be as much as $2.5m. I think $500,000 has been set aside in this budget to start getting the buildings up to scratch. I totally agree that there is absolutely no benefit whatsoever in reporting on an operation like EPIC in anything but an accrual way so that we can see what it is really costing the taxpayer.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the "Woden Valley Hospital Information Bulletin - Patient Activity Data" for August 1995.