Page 1158 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 24 March 2009

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how much will go on materials? We had differing views from differing departments. One said that as a rule of thumb it is fifty-fifty; another one said we are going to spend 30 per cent on this and 20 per cent on that.

So the committee noted in recommendation 4:

The Committee recommends that the Treasurer provides to the Legislative Assembly a breakdown of the proportion of spending that is proposed in Appropriation Bill 2008-09 (No 3) that will be directed towards labour, plant and materials.

I think it is important that the Assembly knows in the end that we will give the government this money to spend. We want it spent wisely, but we need to know how it will be spent.

There are a number of other issues that came up in the course of the inquiry. I think two are instructive. There was discussion about putting furniture in place in the arboretum. At the end of the day, the committee could not decide who got what money when, because the government could not tell us. It could not decide. What it sounded like was that the government received money in the budget for some furniture at the arboretum, but it wanted money in the third appropriation bill to do the planning to position that furniture, which is cart-before-the-horse stuff.

The second thing was that there are a number of bill posting silos to be funded. It was interesting in that the officials and the minister could not actually tell us how many silos we would get for the money that we were appropriating. If you are going down to the shops to buy some apples and mum says get six apples, six apples is what you get. We, as the committee, could not be told accurately how many silos we would get, and at one stage it sounded like the cost was $20,000 a silo. But, again, nobody could confirm exactly how much they were.

These were just basic questions that they should be able to answer. I think it is a shame that they were unable to do that. In recommendation 9, therefore, we state:

The Committee recommends that the Treasurer provide the Assembly by the last sitting day in June 2009 a detailed project report on the delivery of these projects …

These projects are meant to be out the door. They are meant to be spent this financial year. I think it is important that we actually do get that information and get it quickly.

The issue of childcare was raised in the hearings, and on page 38, paragraph 3.49, of the report it is stated:

The Committee draws the Minister’s attention to the high need for childcare centres in Gungahlin.

I note that some of the planning that was going ahead was for places in Weston Creek and Belconnen, but clearly the pressing need in the territory is Gungahlin. It is a shame that they were forgotten in this case. There is something dear to my heart,

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