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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 7 Hansard (22 September) . . Page.. 2003 ..

Mr Stanhope: When are you going to meet that target, Minister?

MR MOORE: I will be doing that as soon as I possibly can.

Business Incentive Scheme

MR QUINLAN: Mr Speaker, my question is to the Chief Minister and Treasurer. I refer to the very embarrassing case of Capital Plastics Australia, which received a large amount of public money - about $100,000 - under the business incentive scheme some time ago, and then we saw the principal of the enterprise abscond without doing any real business. Have we abandoned all hope of recovery of the funds and/or bringing the perpetrator of this sting on the Government to book or has the person in question got away scot-free because of very lax controls within the system?

MR SPEAKER: Be careful of the legal opinion question. I am just cautioning, that is all.

MS CARNELL: I may have to seek advice on this. My understanding is that it is subject to a police investigation.

MR QUINLAN: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. Has the Government taken remedial action to protect public funds against such losses and, indeed, to ensure that the promises of successful applicants under the business incentive scheme are realised beyond the photo opportunities provided?

MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, had Mr Quinlan bothered to look at the work that was done after the Capital Plastics - I agree - fiasco, he would have seen that we revamped the whole business incentive scheme at that stage. We brought on Derek Volker. He did a report into the way the business incentive scheme applications were vetted and given out. Derek, as we would all agree, is a very capable ex-senior Federal Public Service officer who is now chairing that committee after doing a full review. That was all done after this situation occurred in the last Assembly a couple of years ago and since then we have not had a problem.

Insurance Levy - Emergency Services

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Minister for Justice and Community Safety. In the 1998-99 budget, existing funding for emergency services was maintained and, indeed, increased slightly by $1m, yet it is believed that the ACT Fire Brigade has had cuts imposed. Is the Minister concerned about the impact these cuts will have on the community? How can the Minister justify these cuts when the insurance levy is forced on the ACT community and he has stated that the levy is to maintain emergency services funding?

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