Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 6 Hansard (3 September) . . Page.. 1887 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
Mr Speaker, the fate of that side of the equation - the FAGs and the SPPs - has always been in the hands of the Grants Commission and the Federal Government of the time. Over the last couple of years it has been the Coalition. For the previous seven years it was the Labor Party. I suppose over the nine years since self-government those two entities, predominantly Labor, have managed to cut funding to the ACT by 50 per cent in real terms. I think it is important to remember that seven of those nine years were under Federal Labor.
I do not particularly trust any of them, which is the reason that I am very positive about having access to a growth tax such as the GST, which will come directly to the States, then certainly be allocated on the basis of the equations that the Grants Commission put in place - again, something based upon our submissions to the Grants Commission. It determines what States need to provide an average level of service. If you can move the Federal Government out of the equation, no matter what colour they are, the ACT has to be better off.
MR BERRY: My question is about conflict of interest and is directed to the Chief Minister, through you, Mr Speaker. In answer to a question asked at the Estimates Committee the Chief Minister revealed that a number of government and related agencies had paid part of the rent for the ACT Government's Sydney office. One such agency was the International Hotel School. Will the Chief Minister confirm that Mr Ian Knop was the chair or a member of the board of the school when the contribution was approved?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it is interesting in a budget week, the week that we are actually passing the budget, that Mr Berry has spoken as much about conflict of interest - - -
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, that may be of interest but it has got nothing to do with the question that I asked.
MR SPEAKER: Just a moment. The Chief Minister has just begun to reply.
Mr Berry: I would refer you to standing order 118(a), Mr Speaker.
MR SPEAKER: It says that an answer shall be concise and confined to the subject matter of the question. There is no point of order. Go on, Chief Minister.
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, the answer to that question is yes. Mr Knop is the chair of the Hotel School. Yes, the Hotel School did use the Sydney office. Yes, Mr Knop is the person who rented the Sydney office to the ACT Government. Yes, Mr Knop is the person who has managed to turn the Hotel School around from an absolute disaster under those opposite to an entity that is starting to look like it might break even.