Page 3766 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 27 August 2008

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At this stage, I have no further advice as to what the implications are of this decision by Summernats. All I would say is that there is a constructive and open dialogue between ACT Policing and the organisers of Summernats. I would expect that, if any issues were to come to light that were of concern to ACT Policing, they would be discussed with the organisers of Summernats in the first instance to see if they could be appropriately resolved.

Until I have further advice from the police, I am not in a position to anticipate or pre-empt what their conclusions may be about their assessments and planning for the event.

Department of Territory and Municipal Services

MR SMYTH: My question is to the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services. Minister, we are aware that your department has engaged one of the four major international accounting firms to undertake a review of your department’s financial management and financial performance. Minister, what are the terms of reference for this review? What are the implications of this review for the provision of services and grants by your department to the Canberra community? What is the expected target of savings to be found?

MR HARGREAVES: I am sorry but I do not carry the terms of reference for these things around in my hip pocket.

Mr Smyth: Why not?

MR HARGREAVES: Why not? Because it is full of insult notes for Pratty actually and because my pockets are full of congratulatory notes on Pratty. See! Look!

The implications for the public are very simple. If we can improve our financial management assistance through the receipt of external advice, that is prudent accounting management. That is a prudent management technique. Otherwise, we become inwardly looking and myopic, just like you guys. I do not think that is a very good way to go. It is not a good way to do business. In fact, it is beholden upon us from time to time to have a good look at the way in which we do things and the way we administer public funds.

Answering Mr Smyth’s question about targets is pre-empting the results of such a consultancy. I have no intention of saying to people, just like they did in the Carnell years, “Here is the answer. Please go away and work the question out.” I am sorry, we do not operate like that. We do things honestly. We say, “We would like you to give us advice, please.” We do not say, “Tell us what we want to know.”

That is what you got when the Bruce Stadium fiasco was there. That was the way in which the feel the power thing came in. That was the way in which the grass got painted green. That is, in fact, the way that the Canberra hospital went so horribly wrong. It is because proper administrative and management processes were not followed. If anybody wants to stand up and criticise me for taking expert external advice on how to do things better in my department, bring it on.

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