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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3830 ..

MR QUINLAN (continuing):

government are most concerned to ensure that the budget is accurate as that is one area that will receive a great deal of scrutiny as soon as it becomes public.

As I said earlier, the government will try to ensure that appropriate resources are put in place. I instruct Treasury on government reforms, so I am also able to advise Treasury on gender impact-an issue to which Ms Tucker referred earlier. Coincidentally, Ms Gallagher referred that same issue to cabinet yesterday. Agreement was reached in relation to the inclusion in the budget, as a matter of course, of a statement on women. That recent government decision was as a result of the initiative of Ms Gallagher.

Ms Tucker: Any resourcing with that?

MR QUINLAN: We cannot allocate discrete resources to such a proposal; it has to be part of the budgetary process.

Ms Tucker: It has implications.

MR QUINLAN: Ms Tucker should not be concerned. I will request the maximum amount of resources that are necessary to do the job. The preparation of the budget involves tight deadlines and other commitments that have to be met. Let us wait and see how the job is done. If additional resources are necessary-and I think they will be-I will lodge a claim for them. However, members would be aware that other claims for resources are always lodged when the budget is brought down. This government is committed to ensuring that the current budget papers incorporate triple bottom-line reporting and a statement on women.

MR STEFANIAK (11.28): I refer to the statements made earlier by the Treasurer and by Ms Tucker. I was interested to hear the Treasurer say that, in Victoria, it is a case of "so far so good". I support that statement, so why would he not support such a proposal? I have seen quite a few auditors' reports. While auditors might not necessarily be noted for their ability to put forward ideas, I think many ideas originate from audit reports and many useful comments are made. I agree that the Auditor-General's comments should not be set in stone and that they should be able to be challenged, just as the comments that are made by government officials or anyone else are challenged.

What is proposed and what occurs in Victoria are very much in line with what one would expect from an auditor. If this amendment is successful we would like the Auditor-General to be able to identify the key assumptions on which the budget is based and to evaluate those assumptions in the preparation of the budget-things that an auditor would be qualified to do. I will not refer to the other principles that were espoused by Mr Bracks; rather I reiterate that achieving consistency in accounting principles is right up the alley of the Auditor-General. The Treasurer's reasoning is a little skew-whiff, as he does not support what he concedes. Apparently, everything is going well in another Labor jurisdiction. It was disappointing, though probably quite predictable, to hear Ms Tucker's views on the opposition's proposed amendments.

Nevertheless, there was a time when one would have thought Ms Tucker would have supported these amendments without hesitation. There was a time when Ms Tucker was a champion of open government-a proponent of the importance of government

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