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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 7 Hansard (1 July) . . Page.. 2073 ..

MS CARNELL (continuing):

We have tabled every invoice, Mr Quinlan. We have given to you every invoice with regard to this project. You could do your homework and add them all up, could you not? You could go and add them all up.

Let us look at it; we will try once more. The prospective amendment has two components, that is, $27.383241m to pay for the balance of the construction, plus $5m for working capital. It is not a blank cheque - absolutely not a blank cheque at all, Mr Quinlan. The amount is clearly in the amendment. Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, we have the retrospective and the prospective. We have the difference. We know what it all is.

In fact, Mr Rugendyke and Mr Osborne, rather than playing politics, wanted to be confident that the figure was right, too. So, what did they ask for? They asked for a sign-off by the Auditor-General, an independent person, which will be, I understand, available to them before they have to vote on this amendment tomorrow. That approach is constructive. It is about ensuring that they are confident about the figures. Those opposite just want to play politics. Mr Quinlan indicated that if he could get independent advice that these figures were all right, he would be happy. You have got it, so you can support it, Mr Quinlan. Is that not good news?

Mr Quinlan: It is.

MS CARNELL: It is good news that you can support them without having to send them to a select committee, Mr Quinlan. I think that explains exactly what these Bills are about. But most importantly, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, the reason these Bills are on the table at all is that Mr Osborne and Mr Rugendyke asked us to do it in this way. It was also, by the way, the preferred situation or the preferred position for the Auditor-General. The Auditor-General that those opposite put so much store in actually thought that this was the way to go. Mr Quinlan is shaking his head; he does not put store in the Auditor-General. That is interesting; we will keep that in mind.

Mr Humphries: If he wants to sell ACTEW, he does not want to put much store in the Auditor-General.

MS CARNELL: Okay. I suggest to all members of the Assembly that they should not support this very stupid motion with regard to a select committee on appropriations. It would mean that we would not be able to pass the budget until after November. Those of us who have been in this house for a while know just how destructive that is with regard to departmental and other expenditure before the Assembly. The CBA loan runs out on 15 July. To refinance that would cost, I am told, about $200,000 a month, so it would just cost the taxpayer. For what reason? So that those opposite can play politics.

MR KAINE (5.38): First of all, although I was not consulted on what was an appropriate method of fixing the money that had been spent without appropriation, I do agree with the process of seeking an appropriation, which the Government has now done. But I do understand why the Opposition was asking some questions about it. The Chief Minister has partly answered those questions, but not entirely.

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