Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 4 Hansard (20 April) . . Page.. 966 ..
MR HARGREAVES (continuing):
Mr Speaker, I will wind up by congratulating Mr Hird and the committee members again for what is a very good report. I think it is a warts and all report. I think it is an excellent one. It is a shame, however, that the Government has not done something real and positive within it.
MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.
MR QUINLAN (12.21): Mr Speaker, I did not intend initially to speak on this particular report or in this debate. However, I want to react very briefly to the observations of the Chief Minister, the lady who takes the credit for Rosemary Follett's initiative in introducing accrual accounting in the ACT. She wished to tell this Assembly that the only cash available for the development of capital works would arise from operating surpluses. Mr Speaker, that demonstrates a clear, absolute paucity of knowledge on the part of the Chief Minister in relation to accrual accounting. It is a fundamentally inadequate understanding not to appreciate the fact that within accounting there are non-cash expenses above the line, which decrease the operating surplus but still represent cash, such as depreciation.
The budget papers for this year show a depreciation in the general government sector of about $123m. It is almost up to the surplus. If you look at the cash statements, we have had a reasonable sized capital budget, and we have had a very marginal cash deficit over the time. I really recommend that Mrs Carnell get hold of a bookkeeping grade 1 text and have a damn good look at it.
MR OSBORNE (12.22): Mr Speaker, I will be brief.
Mr Smyth: You have eight minutes, Paul.
MR OSBORNE: No, I will speak further when we come back to it because I have not had a really good look at the report. I want to address a number of issues. The first is the one that Mr Stanhope spoke about in relation to the prison. As he indicated, most members will realise that the Justice Committee is currently looking at the issue of the prison. Under pressure from the Government, we have been attempting to get back with some report in the next month or two. Given the timeframe, Mr Speaker, I too am concerned at paragraph 3.15 which says:
The committee was told that the government's preferred option in relation to the prison is for a BOO type project.
BOO means build, own and operate. What that basically means is that the transfer of the prison would eventuate. One of the trump cards used by the Government in relation to a privately built and run gaol was that at the end of a period the prison would be handed back to the Territory. So, rather than just paying dead money every year, we would be paying off an asset which would eventually come back into our ownership. I am concerned about that point. I am informed by Mr Rugendyke that Mr Keady and Mr Ryan were two of the government representatives who addressed the committee. I am disappointed that these two gentlemen, with whom we have had many discussions, seem to have changed tack somewhat from what they have - - -