Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2871 ..
MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):
Mr Deputy Speaker, as I say, there is a need for a bit more transparency in some of these areas. I urge that that be the case in future budgets.
MR DEPUTY SPEAKER: Mr Quinlan, would you formally move your amendment?
MR QUINLAN: Yes, I was going to, Mr Deputy Speaker. I move amendment No 2 circulated in my name. [see schedule 1 at page 2913].
MS TUCKER (5.36): I want to talk generally to the issue of Treasury. As members are aware, the Public Accounts Committee is inquiring into the general issue of revenue. That committee process will look at questions of regressivity and so on. I hope that is going to be a substantial help to the government, as well as the office of sustainability, when framing its next budget.
From the 2002-03 highlights, we welcome the fact that strategic issues to be pursued include reviewing corporate governance, and performance of government business enterprises. This review is badly needed, after the past government's extraordinary achievements. Among other matters, the stadium mismanagement and the ongoing car race blow-out spring immediately to mind. Then there was the Auditor-General's fairly damning analysis of some of these agencies, through recent reports, including the operation of the Public Access to Government Contracts Act and governance arrangements of selected statutory authorities and frameworks for internal auditing in territory agencies.
It appears, however, that the only measure of quality for this review is that the Treasurer and chief executive are 95 per cent satisfied-as assessed by a six-monthly survey. However, lessons of the past might indicate that this is not necessarily reassuring. Perhaps the Treasurer could build in some form of external assessment of the process as well.
Whilst I am talking about measures of quality, I will comment on the Estimates Committee recommendation that the government undertake a review of performance measures across the budget, so that measures are meaningful and take into account the need for triple bottom line reporting. I fully endorse this recommendation. I go further and ask the government to review the whole presentation of the output statements in the budget, as they are inadequate. It is pointless trying to fit all government activity into a standard format if the results are meaningless or even farcical.
I found it interesting to hear Mrs Dunne speaking, with such outrage, about the question of performance indicators, because it is the performance measures and indicators that the Liberals set up which I think have been fairly useless. I will give just a couple of examples in the current budget. Under the Chief Minister's Department, in Output Class 2, Economic Development, Sport and Recreation, we have a measure of quantity-"Administer the Stadiums Authority Act"-with a target of six. Six what? Six stadiums, six staff, or six meetings?
Underneath this is the measure, "Drug testing of selected athletes undertaken in accordance with obligations set down in the Drugs in Sport Act"-with a target of one. Does this mean we will be testing only one athlete?