Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 10 Hansard (27 August) . . Page.. 2878 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
When I asked what led to this, I guess, error in invoicing, the information was that some invoices were incorrectly raised; in other cases that the amount raised was actually in dispute-that is, in dispute between the ACT government and InTACT and other ACT corporations and authorities. Can you imagine any other service provider, or non-government service provider, being able to write off $2 million in one year?
This is a debacle. At estimates the Treasurer saw no real problem with this administrative error. We are still at a loss as to the ramifications in regard to this $2 million write-off.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure-part 10-Superannuation Unit, $68,800,000 (capital injection) and $39,169,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $107,969,000.
MR HUMPHRIES (Leader of the Opposition) (6.10): I won't detain the Assembly for long, Mr Speaker. It is impossible to pass this proposed expenditure without making some comment on the interesting exchanges between, on the one hand, the committee and the Treasurer and, on the other hand, the committee and the Auditor-General, about the question of how to deal with superannuation assets in the territory's accounts.
As members have heard, the committee has recommended that there should be a continuation of the treatment of superannuation as an integral part of the general government sector accounts; that they should not be excised or separated, as the Treasurer has been suggested. I accept that this is a debate to excite accountants and economists, and it is a fair enough debate to have at some stage. The committee has had such a debate and has determined one particular point of view, and no doubt there will be some further toing-and-froing about that. But the interesting part about our deliberations was the contrast between what the Treasurer said was the view of the Auditor-General about this and what the Auditor-General said was the Auditor-General's view about this.
The Treasurer, when asked about the difference between himself and the Auditor-General, was quite adamant that, first of all, the Auditor was wrong and, secondly, that there was likely to be a change in the Auditor's view. In fact, he said to the committee:
... I can already tell you that I think the thinking of the Auditor-General has changed to some extent in relation to the superannuation.
And the Under-Treasurer added to that:
We've had extensive discussions with the Auditor-General, who, as the Treasurer indicated, is, as we speak, probably in the process of changing his mind as to how some aspects of this might be accounted for.
It came as something of a shock, I would suggest, to the Auditor-General to discover that his mind was changing. He had it put to him quite directly, and again I quote:
... that there had been a dialogue with your office about that subject, and that he-
that is, the Treasurer-