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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (6 March) . . Page.. 613 ..

MR SPEAKER: The member's time has expired.

MR CORBELL: I will conclude my comments on that point, Mr Speaker, and continue in the detail stage.

MR SPEAKER: Before I call Mr Stefaniak, I would like to welcome students and teachers from Sacred Heart Primary School, Pearce.

MR STEFANIAK (11.34): Mr Speaker, I turn firstly to one of my portfolio areas that naturally was required to have some money spent-and that is Justice and Community Safety. I note that the supplementary appropriation to the Department of Justice and Community Safety provides for close on $2 million-$1.933 million as a government payment of output. That is made up of $1.783 million immediate response to the January bushfires for such things as the operational costs associated with plant hire, consumables, overtime and helicopter hire. That is in addition to the $1 million Treasurer's advance.

MR SPEAKER: Mr Stefaniak, order! Order, members! We are having some difficulty with the sound system. It is important to keep the conversation right down, and for members to speak into the microphone. I understand some repairs are being attempted as we speak, and more work will be conducted over the lunchtime period. For the moment, please speak up and speak into the microphone-and would other members keep their conversations down.

MR STEFANIAK: Thank you, Mr Speaker-I hope that was recorded.

MR SPEAKER: That means you, Mr Quinlan.

MR STEFANIAK: The other part was the bushfire inquest-an initial payment of $.15 million. I think yesterday the Chief Minister said that could be anywhere between $1 million and $2 million. When one looks at several other large inquests, that is probably an accurate summation-and this will obviously cost more. Those are quite logical amounts, to my mind.

Ms Dundas and my colleague, Mr Smyth, have made some very good points in relation to the Treasurer's advance. The Treasurer's advance is there, of course, for unforeseen emergencies. I think that, in this instance, some of this appropriation could quite properly have been spent from the Treasurer's advance.

I take Ms Dundas's point that you need to be prudent-that you need to keep some moneys there-and that is true. I think that, to start with, the Treasurer's advance for this financial year was some $21 million, which is 1 per cent of the total ACT budget.

I note that, as at 24 January, we still have half. With some amounts being spent immediately after the bushfires, we have some $17.1 million remaining. As it is now March, we have only four months left. I believe the Treasurer could have been prudent in keeping, as at 24 January, say $10 million in the Treasurer's advance, but expending some more moneys from that. That would be an extra $7 million, by my suggestion, for the obvious one-offs that are needed and appropriated in this bill.

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