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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (13 February) . . Page.. 71 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

But it was definitely a loophole sought and found by the government's QC. In fact, to test that, during estimates hearings I asked the Auditor-General specifically about section 38 of the Financial Management Act. His understanding of its inclusion in that act-to use his terminology, which is contained in the Hansard report of that public hearing-is that it would be purely about short-term investment of surplus cash to optimise the return to government.

So this nonsense that has been perpetrated-quite typical, I have to say-is exactly that. It is a nonsense and I do not think it does the new Chief Minister much credit to associate himself with it. I fully understand his desire to divorce himself from the Bruce Stadium project. I accept that within a public sector there is always room for improvement and some change now and then actually does focus the mind of people on what they are doing and what they should be doing. However, I think the close association contained in this document does a grave disservice to the public sector. Bruce Stadium was about a culture that was more associated with the executive than it was with the administration.

I do not believe for a moment-and this is a personal comment-that the illegal borrowing was a direct consequence of a lack of understanding of the act. I just believe it was an artifice, that it should not have happened. If you read the Auditor's report on Bruce Stadium, if you follow the logic, you find that the only reason those overnight loans were taken, those illegal loans were taken, was that the jig was up on the spending of unappropriated money. Otherwise, there was no logical reason to do it. It was an artifice to bury it in the statements, to change the balance sheet in one particular instance, and I do not believe that was the fault of the wider public sector in the ACT.

I will make a few other remarks on the paper presented by the Chief Minister. In relation to innovation, he talks in one paragraph about the introduction of accrual accounting and I might add that the program to do this commenced under a Labor government.

Mr Humphries: No it didn't.

MR QUINLAN: Yes it did. He also talks about the establishment of a comprehensive purchaser provider framework. As I mentioned in this place earlier today, if we have reached an age of enlightenment I suggest that he revisit the report on purchaser/provider implementation that was brought down by the committee that I chair, the Finance and Public Administration Committee. That implementation is deficient, and it is deficient by the standards set by the government. The implementation has not fulfilled the promise of the government's own program which, with the assistance of the Rogan Johnston report, was to be its blueprint for introduction.

Since the purchaser/provider implementation report that we brought down was delivered, the government has come back-and admittedly it was your predecessor, Chief Minister-and virtually said, "We are not doing that now. We are not fully implementing what we promised to implement. We are only going to do the business side of it; we are not going to do anything about information and service and cooperative effort with the NGOs that are going to actually deliver service."

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