Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 3 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 583 ..

MR SPEAKER: Mr Quinlan, you did not ask the question; stop interrupting.

MR HUMPHRIES: You have got a question coming up. You can ask that question, Mr Quinlan.

Mr Quinlan: I just thought people might want the facts-a novel concept.

MR HUMPHRIES: We will have, obviously, an amount coming forward. Mr Quinlan is probably right in some ways to interject, because he has been very critical-

MR SPEAKER: No, he is not; it is out of order.

MR HUMPHRIES: Indeed, Mr Speaker. He has been very critical of the fact that what we have done with our previous draft budget is given members a view of the outlook for the territory as of the date that the draft budget was presented and then, of course, we have had to present a different position as of the time the budget itself was presented in May, where some changes in the parameters have taken place, including through things such as improvements or changes in the recommendations made by the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

Mr Speaker, to deal with that situation, what the government has done in this year's case has been to refer to the Assembly committees which are presently considering the draft budget that $4.6 million. Mr Speaker, members of the committees will recall that I have written to them in the last week dividing that $4.6 million between the portfolio areas covered by the committees as if the same division were occurring in our recurrent budget for the whole of the ACT.

Mr Speaker, I have also written to the Finance and Public Administration Committee inviting it to advise on whether there are any whole-of-government uses that that $4.6 million could be put to. For example, in the case of the education and community services committee, that means an additional $1.692 million for initiatives, should it wish to spend that amount.

Having put that on the table, as opposed to simply piling it up in the surplus, presently predicated to be about $12.9 million, the ACT government has put it on the table for the committees to consider. So, rather than having the situation which committees complained about before where they were not told about improvements in the financial position between January and May, we have done what the committees complained had not been done last year and given them information about the improved financial position.

Has that made anybody happy on the committees? Apparently not, Mr Speaker. I understand, from listening to the public hearings of those committees last week, that we have had nothing but complaints from the committees about the fact that they have been given this additional money to play with, as it were. We have heard complaints continuously about people not being consulted about these matters; but when the money actually does hit the deck as additional money which the government has received effectively, you might argue, as a windfall, we hear complaints such as:

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .