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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 2 Hansard (11 March) . . Page.. 556 ..



The standing committee has decided that it is most appropriate for the committee, and therefore this Assembly, to note the document, "A Protocol for Government Interaction with Assembly Committees", recognising the different perspectives the Government and the Assembly have on the operation of Assembly committees, and to note the importance of the Assembly's own guidelines in relation to the operation of Assembly committees and, more importantly, the standing orders of this Assembly which govern the operation of Assembly committees. It has been a useful exercise to compare the different perspectives, and I ask the Assembly to take note of the report.

Debate (on motion by Mr Humphries ) adjourned.


Report on Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 8 of 1998

MR QUINLAN (10.55): Mr Speaker, I present Public Accounts Committee Report No. 14 of the Standing Committee for the Chief Minister's Portfolio, entitled "Review of Auditor-General's Report No. 8, 1998 - Territory Operating Losses and Financial Position", together with a copy of extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, this is a report prepared by the Auditor-General, principally based on observations by the Auditor-General of figures already in existence and proposals that have been put forward to address the Territory's operating position. It did not particularly canvass options beyond those that pre-existed. As we in this place are all aware, there was considerable debate during the ACTEW debate on how the Territory's operating position should be addressed. Options by the Australia Institute were brought forward by the select committee on the superannuation liability.

The PAC determined that there was not a lot to be gained by referring this report on and running around that debate again. We had a discussion on the contents of the report. We also discussed the report with the Auditor-General himself. We discussed questions relating to how depreciation is used within public accounting versus private accounting statements, a matter that I have discussed in the public forum since that time. I think I have been accused by the Chief Minister of attempting to fiddle the books; but, if she likes to read my latest press release, she will know that there is a body of academic debate centring on the differences between public accounting and accounting for private enterprises. Nobody disagrees that accrual accounting is the most appropriate method. However, there may be some differences at the edges.

That discussion was held as a result of this particular report, and I guess the conclusion of that was that we ought to look further into that matter and not rest on our laurels but continue to refine the public reporting within the Territory. Otherwise, I commend the report to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

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