Page 2075 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 21 June 2005

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DR FOSKEY: I understand that some of these pieces of legislation will be talked on next week and I am registering my objection on the basis of that understanding.

Sitting suspended from 12.29 to 2.30 pm.

Ministerial arrangements

MR QUINLAN (Molonglo—Acting Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and Business, Minister for Tourism, Minister for Sport and Recreation, and Minister for Racing and Gaming): Mr Speaker, I advise the Assembly that in the absence of the Chief Minister I will be taking questions relating to his department and Ms Gallagher will be taking questions relating to the Attorney-General’s area and environment, arts and heritage. Also, in the absence of Mr Corbell, Mr Hargreaves will be taking questions on health and I will be taking questions on planning. Good luck to all today!

Questions without notice

Vardon report

MR SMYTH: Treasurer, this is a question for you in your portfolio. You have made a number of comments recently about the significant costs that have been imposed on the ACT through having to respond to the recommendations of the Gallop, the McLeod and the Vardon reports. In answer to a question on notice during the recent estimates hearing, you provided advice on the cost of implementing each of these reports. In this advice you said that $1.6 million had been spent during the 2002-03 financial year and $9.5 million during the 2003-04 financial year in implementing the government’s response to the Vardon report. Treasurer, as the Vardon report was only tabled on 22 June 2004, how was it possible to spend these funds implementing recommendations arising from this report in the two financial years before the report was tabled?

MR QUINLAN: Okay, I can answer that quickly as we are only playing semantics here. We know that there was an identified child protection problem, which this government moved very promptly to redress, and I want to congratulate the minister for the prompt work that she has done, having picked up a problem that certainly pre-existed the election of a Labor government in 2001. Even though there have been some attempts to try and invent a situation where the problem just occurred overnight, I repeat my congratulations for the minister’s prompt action. In terms of the detail, because I don’t have it in front of me, we are happy to supply you with a schedule of the expenditure of when and where and what it went on.

MR SPEAKER: Do you have a supplementary question, Mr Smyth?

MR SMYTH: I would be delighted to receive the schedule. Treasurer, why are you hiding behind the claimed costs of implementing these reports when clearly you were just carrying out ordinary government business to explain you government’s excessive spending?

MR QUINLAN: Let us get some perspective. What we have had since the budget is Mr Smyth and Mr Mulcahy claiming that the government had overspent by $688 million.

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