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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 1 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 97 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

achievements of the former government. So it came as no surprise to hear ministers in question time downplaying the strength of the ACT economy, talking up the level of so-called crisis in the hospital, describing in less than glowing terms the low employment rate in the ACT, and so on. If we look more closely at the information tabled in the Assembly today, we will see that the record shows that the ACT is in pretty good shape and that a great number of the claims made by members opposite do not bear closer examination.

In a more general sense, some of that is confirmed by two Auditor-General's reports tabled today in this place. One relates to the relocation of CTEC to Brindabella Park. Members may recall the enormous criticism that was made of the decision made by CTEC to transfer their operations to Brindabella Business Park. Suggestions were made that this was being done certainly improperly and probably even corruptly. I note that the Auditor has found that the decision to relocate to Brindabella Business Park was soundly based and that no actual or apparent conflict of interest existed in relation to the CTEC board chairman. As you will recall, some serious allegations were made about him. The Auditor found that the chairman did not fail to make proper disclosure in accordance with section 15 of the CTEC Act.

I also note on a rather longer term basis that there is a further report on certain allegations made in relation to ACT corrections. I think it is very important to put on record that this inquiry by the Auditor-General, although not of the same nature as the earlier inquiry, does not provide any support whatever for earlier allegations made in this place about improper conduct or corruption on the part of officers of ACT corrections. The Auditor finds:

The Audit's overall opinion is that, in relation to the persons subject to the allegations examined in the Audit, the evidence reviewed by the Audit did not support that corruption occurred.

The full reasonings supporting the audit opinion are set out in the detailed report which has been provided to the Department of Justice and Community Safety.

It is very likely that the reports published in the media when the allegations were originally made would have led some members of the public to believe that corrupt conduct had been engaged in by senior officers of ACT Corrective Services. It is therefore important to point out that neither this Audit, or the other investigations and court proceedings referred to in this Report, concluded that any conduct of a corrupt nature occurred.

Again, members may or may not be aware of some quite serious allegations made against ACT corrections by members in this place. I am very pleased to note that those allegations have also been knocked out of the water.

Perhaps the most significant allegations which have been put to bed today are the allegations made about the state of the ACT's budget. We were told several times in the last few weeks by the Treasurer that the ACT budget position was in a serious shape; that it was quite likely that the ACT Labor government had inherited a deficit from the former Liberal government; that the previous government had run the territory's cash reserves down; and that spending for short-term political purposes had resulted in a deterioration of the territory's financial position.

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