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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 4 Hansard (29 March) . . Page.. 1178 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

This committee, I believe, has put forward some very sensible recommendations. Mr Humphries has derided the fact that the report included some accounting measures. Mr Humphries, I think it might be getting through to you now that about $26 million of any bottom line over the next 12 years will be an overstatement of the true position because of the way the accounting treatment you apply to superannuation. If that is not getting through to you, then any committee report is wasted on you. It is purely a paper entry and an overstatement of our position. This committee wisely recommended to government that you take into account the cash position as well.

This committee also recommended-the Treasurer derided this particular recommendation-that the government budget for a balanced position over the longer term. Read it, Mr Humphries. It is saying to have a mind to the economic cycle and not just have a mind to manufacturing, through accounting means or in any other way, a positive bottom line so you can stand up and say, "I did it this year." We want for this territory responsible financial management. There is a course called "Financial skills for non-accountants". I recommend that you enrol.

It was quite clear amongst members of the committee that this was just an extension of the sham draft budget process-the draft budget that did not appear. The Treasurer is saying, "This reports is no good. This does not help me prepare a draft budget." Where is the draft budget? There is no draft budget. All we have is a fluctuating bottom line for the current financial year. And you want to stand up and deride this report! You would have to be kidding.

I rose to defend my humble share of input into this committee report, and I hope that someone else rises to adjourn the debate so that possibly the chairman of the committee can catch up and defend the committee or Mr Hird can tell us why there was not a dissenting report on behalf of the government representative.

MS TUCKER (3.34): I would like to speak on this report as well. Someone else might like to adjourn the debate, but I do not think it is particularly useful to spend more time here. I think we can respond today. I will start with the last outraged claim from Mr Humphries. He generally proclaimed that the committee system of this place needed to be looked at and improved because was failing and that he was going to do that next Assembly-assuming he is here.

I have a question for Mr Humphries. Is he saying that every committee operating in this Assembly is failing in its task? If so, I would like him to say that clearly on the record. I would also like him to give some evidence for that proposition. I have not noticed Mr Humphries standing up in this place every time we have a committee report and saying, "This is a disgrace."

Mr Humphries: I have said it several times, Kerrie.

MS TUCKER: If that is the case, I am happy to look at that. I also look forward to Mr Humphries putting some supporting arguments for that proposition. I do not believe that Mr Humphries is correct when he says that. I have had some concerns about some committee reports, most recently the report of the urban services committee on John Dedman Drive. However, on the whole, it has not been my impression that there is a flawed approach or a lack of hard work going into committee reports.

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