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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 5 (Hansard) 16 May) . . Page.. 1347 ..

MS HORODNY (continuing):

A narrow examination of economic efficiency, as undertaken by the Auditor-General in this case, does not pick up that some expenditures may not be strictly "efficient" because there is no obvious financial return to the corporation. But there could be large returns to the community as a whole. Providing discounts on bills to pensioners is not economically rational because it reduces revenue; but it is certainly demonstrating a caring attitude to those members of the community who are less well off. Spending money on encouraging the community to adopt energy and water efficiency measures may not be economically rational for ACTEW, as it reduces its revenue from selling these resources; but in the longer term there are environmental and economic benefits to the community as a whole from reducing resource use.

These points illustrate that there is a fundamental flaw in the current government accounting and auditing process, in that it is too narrowly focused on traditional economics and does not account for all the external environmental and social costs to the community. At this stage, all that the Greens can do is raise our broad concerns with the auditing process as used in this report; but I would like to flag that we will be raising this issue in more detail when there is debate on the Auditor-General Bill and the Financial Management Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr De Domenico) adjourned.

Report and Statement

MS FOLLETT: I present Report No. 5 of 1996 of the Standing Committee on Scrutiny of Bills and Subordinate Legislation. I seek leave to make a brief statement on the report.

Leave granted.

MS FOLLETT: Mr Speaker, Report No. 5 of 1996, which I have just presented, contains the committee's comments on one Bill. That Bill is the Weapons (Amendment) Bill (No. 2) 1996, which we will be debating later today. I can advise the Assembly that the committee had no difficulties with the Bill.

Sitting suspended from 12.01 to 2.30 pm

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