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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 3 Hansard (7 March) . . Page.. 713 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

Total expenditure for 2001-2002 was budgeted at $158 million. This constituted a "wish list", and this quarter's capital works program makes that plain. As year to date expenditure stands at $41 million, it means that only 26.3 per cent of funds available for expenditure have been committed.

For the benefit of Assembly members, I will point out a few interesting aspects from the Department of Urban Services. On the road program, 19 out of 27 projects are less than 30 per cent complete for the year; and 29 out of 49 infrastructure projects are less than 30 per cent completed for the year. These projects include works in progress and prior year works in progress. Obviously the proportion of underspends for new works is higher. Again for roads, 12 out of 15 new works programs are less then 35 per cent completed. No new works have commenced at this stage for either Environment ACT or ACT Waste.

It is the government's role to manage its capital works with sensibility and with reasonable certainty. As this quarter's report clearly shows, the past government was not able to contain itself in respect of the capital works program, nor was it able to distinguish between critical and other valuable but less urgent projects. The potential public interest in a multiplicity of projects is too appealing.

Consequently, this capital works program of the previous government gives the Canberra community no idea or assurance of the government's priorities for the capital program. By all appearances, it was designed to be convoluted and random, because like its business projects and business plans it is the best the Liberals could offer in government.

By contrast, as chair of the Finance and Public Administration Committee, I advocated for a clear and transparent capital works budget and quarterly reports. As Treasurer, I will work with government ministers to ensure continuity and clarity in the capital works program. Agency programs will continue to be closely monitored through quarterly reporting and the formal project acquittal process will be pursued each quarter with the return of project completion reports. The overall progress of the program will be monitored closely over the months. Mr Speaker, I commend the 2001-02 capital works program's second quarter report to the Assembly.

Finance and Public Administration-Standing Committee

Report No 28-government response

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections) (3.35): Mr Speaker, for the information of members, I present the following paper:

Finance and Public Administration-Standing Committee (incorporating the Public Accounts Committee)-Report No 28 of 2001-Report on Auditor-General's Report-Public Access to Government Contracts Act-Government response.

The report was presented to the Assembly on 30 August 2001. I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

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