Page 2832 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 17 August 2005

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basis of advice from the department, the answers to both the question and the supplementary question are no and no.

Budget—operating result

MR QUINLAN: Today, I took on notice a question from Mr Mulcahy in relation to the disparity between numbers in the consolidated financial management report. He referred to page 6 of that report and a figure of $2 million and asked why it was not $8 million. If Mr Mulcahy refers to page 9 he will see the answer to his question contained in the same report. The fact is that a year or so ago, when he was not in the Assembly, amendments were made during the budget debate in relation to child protection. An assessment was made that urgent work was needed, and these amendments were approved by the Assembly as a whole. He will see those numbers on page 9. So the report is entirely accurate and conveys that situation.

Forbes global CEO conference

MR QUINLAN: Yesterday, I took on notice a question about the Forbes global CEO conference. I am advised that the conference has been sponsored by the Australian government and the New South Wales government. Other state governments have specifically not been invited. The only invitations sent out were to what are described as directors-general of industry portfolios in state and territory governments. Those invitations were not transferable. Participants are to be what is described as “paying guests”, at $US5,000 each. The conference goes for a day and a half. One would have the privilege of hearing the Prime Minister; the Premier of New South Wales; the federal Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources; Rudolph Giuliani, a well-known US Republican; Nicole Kidman and a few others—all of this in a conference that effectively runs for a day and a half. It has an opening social function that has a degree of structure to it which would inhibit circulating and networking time. I am sure that Mr Mulcahy would fit right in networking with some of those luminaries. That is it. It starts and it goes for a day and a half.

As I said, I was specifically not invited and it is nothing personal. One can probably understand that the New South Wales government, having invested in obtaining this conference, does not want to share this bounty of networking with other states and territories if it thinks there is some great value in it. So I could not be represented. Maybe one of our administrators might have been, but I have major doubts whether it would be the best investment we could make—something in the order of $8,000 or $9,000 by the time we paid airfares and accommodation—for a day and a half of a fleeting opportunity for coat tugging or whatever one likes to call the networking.

A year or so ago I was invited by the Forbes organisation to a dinner with quite a number of leaders of American industry. I thought that was a worthwhile function to attend, but there is some limitation on exactly what one can communicate in the space of two hours and on whether one can excite interest in the generality of investment in the ACT. I rather prefer the approach that we are taking: going out of our way to take specifics and to meet with people.

Mr Mulcahy: You go to conferences in Philadelphia but you do not go to Sydney.

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