Page 4902 - Week 15 - Thursday, 15 December 2005

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and that they reflect the underlying economic reality. Things like issue of risk and internal governance are not the concern of the Auditor-General when she is auditing the annual reports. If you want, we can get her to do a performance report, but that would be a different subject.

Our concern is with the governance. This is one of the largest government agencies. It has an appropriation of $52 million and for its entire first year it did not have any internal audit function. How you can possibly not have any internal audit function for an agency whose first year budget was truly concerned in the main with procurement and staff recruitment is beyond me. I have been through the accounts of the ESA and I am concerned that, for instance, non-current assets are not recorded correctly. Indeed, there are some $30 million of non-current assets accounted for. And so it goes on.

I just want to read finally an email from one volunteer to another that I have had forwarded to me. He said:

Our points for the meeting will include:

There have been a number of meetings this week, and there are four dot points. They are:

Poor catering, not just Friday/Saturday but into Sunday (Woden crews went 12 hrs then had to self cater!)

Chainsaw PPE remains not adequate—ten year old helmets are an example—ear muffs promised 6 months ago

Little regard for proper crew duty considerations—work them as long as they can, or until the members say enough! Shouldn’t be up to the commanders to call them off but that’s what I had to do—cruise around tasks and pull people off roofs to get them home …

Roof safety systems still dependent on each member supplying their own …

Those are just four dot points out of another email that I have received. That is why it is important that we get this inquiry up. That is why there should be a select committee. We should not have diatribes and sermons from the minister. We should have the minister asking questions of the people he is responsible for as to why they are not getting the services that they require to do their job properly because, after all, often they just do it for a cup of coffee.

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (11.44), in reply: The opposition has, regardless of what the minister said, nothing to apologise for in moving this motion. We have nothing to apologise for in terms of the stern language we have used to highlight these issues. Earlier, the minister accused me of using inappropriate language. However, my language when giving a speech is always much more parliamentary than Mr Hargreaves’s, especially when he attacks opposition members with such personal insults. Of course, he only does that because he cannot answer any of our questions and he cannot answer any of the concerns we raise. We know the barometer is there. We know when our questions cannot be properly answered. I have had to ask more questions on notice than anybody else because the answers I get back from the government do not actually give all of the answers; they do not give definitive answers.

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