Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 6 Hansard (22 May) . . Page.. 1606 ..
Mr Whitecross: I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is the normal custom of the house that you get one chance to ask a question. If you ask a question which is ruled out of order, then I would have thought that you have missed your chance and it is someone else's turn.
MR SPEAKER: No. I do not believe that he has missed his chance to ask the question, but he has missed his chance to ask the question now.
MR WHITECROSS: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, last week in answer to a question by Mr Moore you said that receipts collected within City Services were lower than expected. Will you now give the Assembly the details and the amounts of these shortfalls? Can you also give us the details of other areas of the budget which may be experiencing similar shortfalls in receipts collected?
MRS CARNELL: Mr Whitecross may not have noticed that it is not the end of the financial year yet. It is extremely difficult to give this Assembly any detailed run-down of where the budget is going to finish up when you actually have not finished the financial year. I am very happy to run through the areas where there have been some shortfalls. I have been quite public about them in the past.
MR SPEAKER: Without breaching the Executive policy rule.
MRS CARNELL: It will be no Executive policy, but the Assembly will have to accept that at this stage there obviously are no final figures. Even indicative figures would be next to useless at this stage. Shortfalls of approximately $5m are related to the industrial dispute. In City Services, parking charges were not collected and fines were not imposed during the dispute. Fees at motor vehicle testing stations were not collected during the dispute. The Assembly might be interested to know that those bans have been reimposed and those fees are still not being collected. ACTION fares were not collected for a quite substantial period of time. All of those areas came to in excess of $5m. Mr Whitecross did not actually ask me this, but there is a projected shortfall in revenue in such areas as conveyancing. As this Assembly would be well aware, the number of home sales in the Territory, particularly since last November, has shown a significant decrease. Obviously, that would be reflected directly in ACT Government revenue.
The Assembly would also be interested to know that one of the other areas of concern at this stage is tobacco franchise fees. We would like to think that the reason that they are below what we projected is that people are smoking less; but we think that there may be a compliance problem, which we are currently investigating, or alternatively it may be that tobacco products are being bought in different States - a situation that we are investigating also. I am sure that that helps Mr Whitecross.