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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 7 Hansard (26 June) . . Page.. 2568 ..


: I forget exactly the date, but I certainly advised Mr Markson that we

were closing the fund. I think it was at the end of April-something like that. I would have to check that.

To successfully run the fund, we wanted to know exactly how much was involved and we needed a cut-off. Funds still flowed in afterwards, but we needed a cut-off so that we knew the amount of money we had and could actually distribute it and take into consideration the relevant priorities or claims against it. That is the only way to do it, totally and effectively-to have all the dough in, then get the applications in and do it in two complete stages.

I don't know of any outstanding funds. The money that was raised was conveyed directly to the bushfire appeal. You are probably aware that I invited the Canberra Community Foundation to manage the appeal. I think it is appropriate, as it was a fund on behalf of the people, that it was by managed by people who were not government officials. The government wanted to keep separate what the government gave to people, what concessions we gave and what assistance we gave. Because we are the government there is an expectation of absolute hard and fast rules.

It is difficult, unfortunately-and this place is a prime example of why it is difficult-to be flexible in that process. No matter what happens, there are always questions like: "Why didn't you give it to someone else?"Even that occurs. Common sense dictated that, when there were discretionary decisions to be taken on the distribution of that money, we would give that role to people that, in fact, performed that role on a regular basis for government or for the people of the ACT. That is precisely what happened.

No fee. Most of the people-the MC, the artists that appeared-no fee. Wherever possible, complimentary fares were provided by airlines. Virtually everybody had the arm put on them, quite frankly, to provide all of the arrangements for the function for free.

Obviously the catering couldn't all be provided for free. There was a cost there. I think the costs were minimal compared to any other function. It was not the type of function that CTEC had ever run before; it was certainly a function that Mr Markson had run on a very regular basis. I don't think CTEC had quite the connections that Mr Markson and Ms Kelly have together to get the array of people who provided the entertainment that night. It was a great success. Is there a problem?

Commonwealth-state housing agreement

MRS BURKE: My question is to Mr Wood, minister for housing. Minister, would you please inform this Assembly why you persist in misleading the public? I refer to your media release this Tuesday on the absence of any further GST compensation in the new Commonwealth-state housing agreement, when this government has known all along-and the Chief Minister signed a COAG agreement-that GST compensation was a one-off arrangement related to the new Commonwealth tax system under the current agreement expiring this week.

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