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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 1 Hansard (20 February) . . Page.. 308 ..

Questions without notice

Treasurer's Advance

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in relation to the expenditure of $10 million of the Treasurer's Advance, you told the Assembly on 11 December 2002:

Under advice from Treasury to cabinet, the government applied $10 million of unexpended Treasurer's Advance to an urgent maintenance need in relation to fire safety within public housing.

I can find no evidence of this advice in the documents supplied to me under FOI and it is not listed in the schedule of exempted documents. Will you now table this advice from Treasury to cabinet?

MR QUINLAN: The answer is that I will if I can, because I do not know whether I have got documentary evidence. I know that there is a sheaf of correspondence, which I have not looked at, including some legal advice. Are you asking for a letter that says, "This is urgent,"or something like that?

Mr Smyth: What advice was given and how was it given to cabinet?

MR QUINLAN: You have been in cabinet, Mr Smyth. You are probably aware that cabinet is a dynamic process, so that there are exchanges there and not everything is written down or, in fact, needs to be written down. If there is a piece of advice written down, we will find it and give it to you, if it is something missing from your freedom of information pack.

MR SMYTH: I have a supplementary question. Are you confirming that there probably is written advice and the expenditure of the $10 million was not done on verbal advice?

MR QUINLAN: Mr Smyth, you have an inquiry before the Public Accounts Committee. Let me tell you that I will not be playing these sorts of semantic games in this place while you are holding that hearing. If you are asking me to make some minor error that will be blown up into the smoking gun, sorry. If there is information that you require, let's know. If that information exists in hard copy, it will be provided to you.

Bushfire recovery appeal

MR HARGREAVES: My question is to the Treasurer. Within days of Canberra's devastating firestorm the government launched the Canberra bushfire recovery appeal. Could the Treasurer inform the Assembly how the appeal is being administered and the criteria that are being applied to applications?

MR QUINLAN: It is important that we record within the Assembly what has gone on with appeal. The appeal is community based, with administration support only from the ACT government. Every dollar that is collected will go to the victims. No administrative costs will be taken from the fund.

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