Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 6 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1638 ..
MR SMYTH (continuing):
carefully. We, as the opposition, also need to be in a good position to monitor equally carefully the actions of your government with respect to borrowings.
Treasurer, in view of this, can you tell the Assembly, when total territory debt at 30 June 2001 was $817 million, excluding financing leases-according to your government's consultation paper-why the total liabilities for the ACT are shown as nearly $2.7 billion in appendix G to the commission of audit report?
Mr Quinlan: I am not sure if I follow the question. There is borrowing and total liabilities. Is that-
MR SMYTH: Let me repeat it. Treasurer, in view of this, can you tell the Assembly, when total territory debt at 30 June 2001 was $817 million, excluding the financial leases-according to your government's consultation paper-why the total liabilities for the ACT are shown as nearly $2.7 billion in appendix G in the commission of audit report?
MR QUINLAN: Well, loosely I could say that your total liabilities include more than your debt. I have not got the figures in front of me so I am just presuming that you are talking about a figure for debt, and that is external debt, as a function of borrowing versus the figure of total liabilities. Of course, as we know, the biggest liability for the territory is employee entitlements, and they are in excess of $1 billion-off the top of my head, I have not got the numbers, so I can't whack them up.
But in any balance sheet under liabilities you will find borrowings, you will find provisions for accrued leave and employee entitlements, and you will even find unpaid bills. You will probably find up there in your assets that you have probably got some cash to meet those unpaid bills. But very few things happen instantaneously, so there is usually a lag. So when you actually assess the business, there is a whole plethora of items that are actual liabilities that you carry. Am I in the right field, or-
MR SMYTH: Perhaps I will ask a supplementary question. You might choose to take it all on notice and answer more accurately. Mr Speaker, the supplementary is: are you confused between "debt" and "borrowings", even though your government has used these words synonymously in the consultation document?
MR QUINLAN: Does this fall in the typo range?
Mr Smyth: No, it is whether or not you understand what the difference between debt and borrowing is.
MR QUINLAN: The semantic range? Debt and borrowings?
Mr Humphries: No. Debt and liabilities.
MR QUINLAN: Debt and liabilities. They can be different things, can they not? Is that what you want to know? Yes they can be different things.
Mr Smyth: But is that what you were saying in your document?