Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 9 Hansard (28 August) . . Page.. 3358 ..
MR STANHOPE (continuing):
meeting. My colleague the Minister for Health and Minister for Planning will take questions that members may wish to ask in relation to education or industrial relations.
MR SPEAKER: Before we proceed with questions without notice, I wish to welcome visiting girls from Canberra Grammar School.
Questions without notice
MR SPEAKER: Mr Smyth, are you ready to go?
MR SMYTH: I am rearing to go, Mr Speaker, particularly as it is Mr McLennan's last question time because he has been sentenced to the big hill. We hope it will be exciting for him and that he has a good story at the end of the day.
My question is to the Treasurer. Mr Quinlan, last Thursday you tabled a statement of expenditure you had authorised during 2002-2003 under section 18 of the Financial Management Act regarding the Treasurer's Advance. The statement says that you authorised expenditure of $2.75 million to purchase Commonwealth land located on block 17 section 63 in the city.
Section 18 (1) (c) of the FMA states,
The need for the expenditure could not reasonably have been foreseen at the time of presentation to the Legislative Assembly of the bill for the first Appropriation Act relating to the financial year in which the expenditure is to happen.
Treasurer, how does the purchase of this block meet the requirement of section 18 (1) (c)?
MR QUINLAN: Let me assure the Assembly that, at the time the budget appropriation bills were put together, we did not know that we would be requiring that particular block of land. As I think most members know, in relation to the establishment of the ICT Centre of Excellence-that is the one, isn't it?
Mr Smyth: It is across the road in the car park opposite Rydges.
MR QUINLAN: Oh, sorry, that block has just become available. We did not know that that block would be available when we brought down the appropriation bills. I am sure members will agree that it would be common sense for the territory to acquire that block rather than have it go into private hands, when we have even less control over the ultimate use of land in the territory. We have enough problems now with the industrial estate at the airport and the tracts of land over which the NCA has control. Particularly in Barton, we see a lot of development, while western Civic languishes. I think it is fair and reasonable.
I do not see anything contentious in the issue at all, Mr Smyth, or in the territory wanting to acquire blocks of land as they become available because, if we refuse them, obviously