Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 13 Hansard (20 November) . . Page.. 3831 ..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
I think the glitch might have been in the assumption that might have been made that prisoners that were sent to Symonston might not need all of those services. We will be debating the remand centre later today, I think, or this evening. There is a protocol for the processing of prisoners and designating those to go. At first blush, after that particular net filtered through, we ended up with, still, a raft of prisoners who were on methadone or other medication-because there may be others that have hepatitis C or whatever. I am not an expert, so I will not venture any further than that.
So, at the end of the day, we ended up with prisoners designated to go out of Belconnen but who still needed the nurse. I am still amazed-and we are still following through-that that problem could not have been solved in a relatively short space of time. But it is not all about saying the resources were not and could not have been found. Certainly we did not sit down and budget for all of those itemised resources. I think that goes back to comments that I made to Mr Smyth about the low level of thought that goes into questioning the government's processes. As you are well aware, as a former minister, this level of service can be negotiated within the process.
I would have expected that, if it could not have been negotiated within that process and there had been a breakdown that was capable of being notified to me, I would have known about it. That is what the comment was about. The comment was also about the fact that it was quite clear that Mr Smyth was armed with information that I did not have in the middle of yesterday-not a satisfactory situation, I would have thought. It happens, and will happen. Nevertheless, that is the reference to which I have gone.
Mr Stanhope: Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the notice paper.
MR STANHOPE: Ms Dundas asked a question yesterday about rental bond money. Earlier this year Ms Dundas also claimed that the government received a $400,000 windfall from tenants. Ms Dundas came to this conclusion by comparing 2001 revenue and expenditure on services provided directly and indirectly by the government concerning residential tenancies.
She characterised this result as a hidden tax on renters, and claimed that the government was fleecing money off tenants. Subsequently, an editorial in the Canberra Times of 23 June 2002 claimed that the government had not used $380,000 in tenants' money for tenants' benefit. The editorial suggested that this money be repaid to tenants or perhaps used to subsidise the cost of actions in the Residential Tenancies Tribunal.
Mr Speaker, I strongly refute any suggestion of impropriety. Revenue used to provide services to the lessors or tenants in relation to residential tenancies fluctuates from year to year. In some years, such as 2000-01, the interest revenue was high and exceeds expenditure. In others, such as 2001-02, the interest revenue is lower than expenditure.
The continued provision of services in relation to residential tenancies is dependent upon equalising revenue fluctuations over a number of years. Ms Dundas based her figures in her initial article on the year 2000-01, when the interest revenue obtained by the Central Financing Unit in Treasury was unusually high, approximately $1.3 million. However, in 1998-99, for instance, the interest revenue was only $727,000. For 2001-02, the annual