Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 10 Hansard (13 October) . . Page.. 3048 ..
MS CARNELL (continuing):
We will have one quarter, the September quarter. I do not know, but, say, we have done eight customer service programs, eight of the nine were done in the first quarter. Does that mean that we are going to do a huge amount more in that area than we anticipated? Possibly not, because we might do all of our customer service projects in the first quarter.
Similarly, with Mr Smyth's area, we know most of our road surfacing and painting are done in the second and the third quarters. So he might be anticipating 500 occurrences of service in, say, road painting or markings. In the first quarter we potentially have done 10. Because it is cold and it is not the time of year we do not do it. Trying to predict a full year outcome on one quarter is useless information to everybody because, obviously, we will still be attempting and planning to achieve our budget targets. What the Assembly is likely to get is the budget targets. We are still planning to do that, Mr Speaker.
I am saying to the Assembly: Please have a look at what you already get - outputs, reports against outputs, reasons for variations on outputs. What Mr Quinlan wants - and I think Mr Berry summed it up - is for us to try to predict in January on one quarter's results what our full year output would be. And then to criticise the Government if we do not achieve it. That is fine, except you can already do it in the annual report. The Opposition and the Assembly will need the annual report to determine what our full year output results were.
So it achieves nothing. If we predicted that we were going to do nine customer service programs in January in line with our budget prediction, Mr Quinlan would not know if that was right or wrong until he got the annual report in September or October. So what have we done this exercise for?
Mr Quinlan: Nothing.
MS CARNELL: For nothing. Not even the political benefit that Mr Berry thought we might have, because they will not have the information to determine whether we were right or wrong in our predictions in January, until the annual report. And in the annual report we are going to report against our outputs and our output results as well as our original targets, anyway. Now, if we could just get the Assembly to look at these papers, and look at what we are actually providing, everyone would see that what we are talking about here may be a cheap political go, to try to make Mr Moore say that they are not going to do as many hip replacements as they thought, or something.
But we do not know in January. We will be attempting to reach our budget targets, Mr Moore, will we not? Of course we will. And Mr Quinlan will not know if we were right or wrong in the prediction we put on the table in January, until September/October when he gets the annual report. So can we all just have a look at this seriously and determine whether we are spending taxpayers' money for no purpose at all? I am sure that Mr Kaine will understand this totally. Again I make the point: The information we put on the table in January, when we predict the output outcomes for this financial year against our budget, cannot be determined as to whether they are right or wrong until the annual report, anyway. And then we will, and do, report against them.