Page 2239 - Week 07 - Thursday, 23 June 2005

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Sitting suspended from 12.18 to 2.30 pm.

Questions without notice

Emergency Services Authority

MR SMYTH: My question is directed to the Treasurer. On Tuesday, the Treasurer tabled documents advising that payments of $3.4 million from the Treasurer’s advance to the Emergency Services Authority were to cover unforeseen operational and establishment costs. Yesterday, your colleague the minister for emergency services ran for cover and refused to provide any reasons in support of that request.

Today the ABC is reporting that Canberra’s emergency services are to be bolstered by a $5.4 million Treasurer’s advance. Who is correct—the ABC or you? Is the amount handed over to the ESA $3.4 million or $5.4 million?

MR QUINLAN: I will get you the exact figures. This question lends itself more to being asked on notice. Certainly supplementary funding has been provided to the Emergency Services Authority for reasons already articulated by the relevant minister.

Mr Smyth: So is it $5.4 or $3.4?

MR QUINLAN: As I said, I will get you the precise figures. I do not carry all the numbers with me.

MR SMYTH: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Treasurer, what strategy have you implemented to ensure that expenditure undertaken by the Emergency Services Authority remains within approved budgets?

MR QUINLAN: It is not a case of saying, “I’ve got a strategy”; it is a case of making sure that we provide an appropriate level of emergency services in the territory. This was more recently exemplified by the white powder incidents that occurred in the territory. We need quite a substantial capability in this city and in these days.

Just as with every other area of government and every other agency, it is a matter of management—and appropriate management. From time to time there will be cost overruns in some areas. There will be good reasons for cost overruns. Each of those will be addressed, as they are, in future budget processes.

Emergency Services Authority

MR MULCAHY: Treasurer, the statement of reasons that you tabled when you announced the Treasurer’s advance of $3.36 million to the Emergency Services Authority contained little useful detail. By the sound of it you may end up having to take this on notice, but of the items you cited in your statement of reasons, how much of the total payment of $3.36 million—or $5.4 million, depending on which is right—was paid to each of general insurance, workers compensation premium, additional security measures and overtime for fire brigade staff?

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