Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 14 Hansard (11 December) . . Page.. 4260 ..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
Mr Quinlan, in his answer, said that this was perhaps a question for the former government. He said:
It was a problem that should have been funded in the previous budget and it was not.
That statement is quite interesting, considering the statements made today about the two supplementary appropriation bills that were debated and went through last financial year before the budget came down for this financial year.
I too have concerns about the Treasurer's Advance. I am glad that the Auditor-General has brought this matter to our attention. I look forward to greater clarity and greater tightening of the rules that relate to the Treasurer's Advance. This is an issue I have been quite concerned about for some time.
MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism, Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming and Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Corrections): I seek leave to respond.
MR QUINLAN: Mr Humphries drew a parallel with Bruce stadium. I am sure the opposition will try to extend upon that, as you do in the political game. But as I pointed out in my original statement, I think parallels are much more closely associated with what happened in the audit report of last year.
Bruce stadium was a vain, glorious ego trip which included 12 months of flat denials of an illegal overnight loan, seven or eight incorrect cabinet submissions and a bottom line by the Auditor that said we did not get value for money. This issue, I am sure, will create heat, but it certainly will not generate 13 volumes of audit reports.
MR SMYTH (Leader of the Opposition): Mr Speaker, I seek leave to make a short statement.
MR SMYTH: As all Auditor-General's reports automatically come to the Public Accounts Committee, the Public Accounts Committee will certainly be taking this matter seriously as they review this report.
It is important to put on the record that the Treasurer's Advance is normally for urgent and unexpected calls on the budget. At page 39 of the report the Auditor states that the $10 million was transferred on 14 June and was deposited in the Housing bank account shortly after authorisation. You would have thought that if that money had been urgently needed or unexpectedly needed, or both-which is what the Treasurer's Advance is meant for-it would have been spent. The Auditor-General says in paragraph 7.5 on page 39 that at 31 October 2002 less than $220,000 had been paid for the authorised purpose. So clearly it was neither unexpected nor urgent. This is something the Public Accounts Committee will be looking at.