Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 9 Hansard (19 November) . . Page.. 2707 ..
Mr Wood: You did.
MR MOORE: That is the task of the Executive. Mr Wood, I successfully lobbied your Government - - -
Mr Wood: You did not do it down here.
MR MOORE: I successfully lobbied your Government in a very effective - - -
Mr Wood: "Lobbied" might not be the word, but anyway - - -
MR MOORE: I successfully lobbied your Government in a very effective way at the time. Indeed, Mr Kaine has not been as effective as that on this particular issue at this particular time. But I think the issue is that, if it is going to be resolved in the Assembly like this, then the money should come from the Assembly budget.
MR HARGREAVES (3.58): Mr Deputy Speaker, we have debated fairly extensively the fairness of this matter. I think it would be very wrong of anybody to try to suggest that Mr Kaine provides a lesser service to this Assembly, to his constituents and to his standing committee than other members do. Indeed, I would argue that he probably does a lot more. Mr Deputy Speaker, it is a question of equity, certainly; but what has been raised as the major question is: Where is the money going to come from? It is an absolute furphy to say that the money is not available within the Government's pocket. The money can be provided. We all know that departmental secretaries do not always hit the target of their salaries allocation. I have never known departmental secretaries to meet their salaries allocations in 29 years of service in the ACT Government.
It is also true to say that the Government provides a certain amount of money for redundancies; so we have a contingency bucket lying around the place. However, if people take their packages in July instead of in December, then there is very little money required for that redundancy package, because the base allocation has already been provided. It is a fact. What happens is that, where you actually provide money for redundancies, you can be providing it twice; and a good management practice with redundancies is to get people to take them in July or August instead of in April or May, because you do not have that doubling up. You would have a considerable saving. That means that the money is there. It merely means that the salaries allocation to the Assembly can be boosted through interdepartmental transfer. It is very simple and is very easily done. It is done all the time.
Mr Deputy Speaker, I would ask: If it is not possible, why is it that we can recruit SES officers like picking poppies and still afford to pay them? We do not necessarily have it in the base budget, but we always seem to find the money. Over the years that I have been associated with the ACT Government, there have been many occasions when a department has increased its budget to take care of a need for salary allocation. It is not always done within that particular salaries line. It is done because there is an interdepartmental transfer of funds, using the OFM as a vehicle for effecting that transfer.