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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 3 Hansard (27 May) . . Page.. 657 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

If cash-based accounting is not very sophisticated, then accrual accounting is not much better. Environmental accounting is a start in the right direction. Our changes to the Auditor-General Act allowing the environmental impact of activities to be looked at in performance audits is also a good start. We do have to move away from our obsession with the current bottom line and acknowledge that our present economic system is not actually related nearly strongly enough to the everyday experience of people in our community.

MR HUMPHRIES (Attorney-General, Minister for Justice and Community Safety and Minister Assisting the Treasurer) (3.56): Mr Speaker, we have here an issue of almost supreme importance in terms of the way the Territory looks at its future and the way this Assembly carries out its job as the custodian of the aspirations and the plans for the future of the Territory. Ms Tucker has just made an argument about not focusing too much on the bottom line.

Ms Tucker: No. I said that, as well, we should focus on the other issues.

MR HUMPHRIES: All right. I stand corrected. Ms Tucker says that we should both focus on the bottom line and look at other issues. That is true. I think the point that is being made in this debate - and it is a point that Mr Osborne has brought forward very clearly in this place - is that the problem with money, the problem with that bottom line about the operating loss, is such a powerful issue and such a determining factor in everything that we are going to do for at least the next 20 years in this place, because of its size, that if we do not have a tactic or a strategy to focus effectively on dealing with that issue we will be - - -

Ms Tucker: I am saying you have to do that too, but I am saying you have to integrate those other concerns into dealing with the bottom line.

MR HUMPHRIES: Okay. I think Ms Tucker and I are agreed on that score. I think what she is saying is that this is important as well, and I am perhaps elevating that argument slightly higher. I am saying it dominates. It is by far the most important in everything that we are trying to achieve in this place and everything that Ms Tucker is trying to achieve in the way of putting emphasis on better outcomes in terms of the environment, in terms of achieving a higher level of positive outcomes in a whole range of areas, in terms of being able to deliver higher-quality services and in terms of being able through community services to reach people whom we presently do not reach. In all of those respects, money is a fundamental consideration. It is fundamentally important. We cannot divorce the question of good social outcomes from the bottom line. I think Ms Tucker and I are agreed on that.

I believe that the issue Mr Osborne has brought forward in that respect is extremely important. Look back, Mr Deputy Speaker, on the debates we have had in this place in the last two weeks since the Assembly resumed after the 1998 election. Look at the issues that we have discussed in the course of those last few weeks. They have been issues like the building of a swimming pool in Belconnen, the way in which we develop some land around a small hamlet in the northern part of the city, and how much we charge

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