Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 1 Hansard (18 February) . . Page.. 323 ..
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, it is obvious that Mr Berry still does not understand accrual accounting or the way that we operate our budgets. At this stage the Department of Health and the hospital have sufficient cash. An appropriation brings cash over into the department. It has sufficient cash to be able to operate, so there is no need for a second appropriation at this stage. I think we heard at length yesterday that the hospital is working very hard to reduce its expenditure and to improve revenue levels and all of those sorts of things to be able to manage, or to bring down, the projected operating loss.
Mr Moore: It is only projected at this stage, Wayne.
MS CARNELL: It is only projected at this stage, as Mr Moore says. Mr Berry started by saying that I made a comment in 1996 about transparency. That is exactly why we had the debate yesterday. The fact is that now every member of this Assembly knows the scenario. Every member gets monthly reports on exactly where every department and every area is up to, and not just reports on what the scenario is now but also projections on what could happen by the end of the year if no changes occur.
Those projections give the Government an opportunity to get in and manage, as Mr Moore is doing, to bring down a projected operating loss. That is serious transparency, not what we saw under the previous Government but something that every year gets better under this Government.
Just very briefly while I am on my feet, Mr Hargreaves brought up the issue of consultancies in 1997-98. The ACT Government spent $6m on consultancies in 1997-98. In the last year of Labor, the figure was $9.2m.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. The Chief Minister is now attempting to answer a question by Mr Hargreaves. Mr Hargreaves is not the questioner this time. I am, and I would appreciate - - -
MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, you will have the opportunity of answering it at the end of question time if you like.
Ms Carnell: Mr Speaker, I am very happy to do that, but I just thought the fact that the Labor Party spent 50 per cent more than the Liberal Party was of interest to everybody.
Mr Berry: Mr Speaker, I have not finished raising my point of order. A moment ago you acknowledged that the Minister for sports had not answered a question. Would you make a similar acknowledgment in relation to the Chief Minister? All I asked her was whether services would be cut. She may well try to rule them out if she has the courage.
MR SPEAKER: The question that was asked of the Minister for sports was about a specific amount of money and could have been answered. The question that you asked did not necessarily require a response, much as you would have liked one, Mr Berry.