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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 2730 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

In health, it seems that nobody is escaping the massive increases in costs. In the section of the paper dealing with health, we note, for example, that Ministry of Health figures indicated that the costs of running the regional health authorities have increased by around 40 per cent in two years. There have been massive increases in costs of providing medical and health care. Even the central Ministry of Health, which has been whittled away to a very small organisation compared to what it used to be, incurred an 11 per cent cost increase last year. It seems that, no matter what you do and no matter where in the world you are, you have to accept the fact that the costs of health care are increasing significantly. Somehow or other, we have to accommodate that.

Apart from those couple of comments, I repeat that I found the visit most interesting and most informative. I think that there are some things in here that the Government might read because it may well temper things that the Government may be planning to do over the longer term. As I said, there are some lessons that we need to be aware of; and, no, we do not want to repeat the same mistakes and incur the same costs, to the same sectors of the community, as have been incurred demonstrably in New Zealand.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 4 of 1996

MR WOOD (4.46): Mr Speaker, I present Report No. 17 of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 4, 1996 - Land Joint Ventures". I move:

That the report be noted.

This report notes that the Government is consulting with its joint venture partners on the appointment of the ACT Auditor-General as the auditor of joint venture arrangements and that the Government is confident of achieving the agreement of most of its joint venture partners. The committee has, therefore, recommended that the Government inform the Assembly on progress in achieving agreement, including which joint venture partners have agreed and which have not and the reasons for any non-agreement.

The recommendations arise from a performance audit which sought to determine whether the selection of joint venture partners was done appropriately in accordance with principles of fair and open competition; whether the operations of joint ventures have anticipated or will anticipate financial returns and provide for equitable sharing of returns, losses and risks; and whether accounting and external reporting satisfies public accountability requirements. The overall audit finding was that the joint venture arrangements are being managed effectively and that the financial interests of the ACT are appropriately protected. However, the audit did find that public reporting and accountability should be improved. The audit also made certain recommendations about the oversight of cost management, cost auditing, the need for quarterly reports to the Minister, more information in departmental annual reports and the appointment of the Auditor-General as auditor of all land development joint ventures.

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