Page 2684 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 29 June 2010

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dread the day that we are criticised for poor service delivery due to being too busy answering the multifaceted questions particularly of those opposite. We accept that scrutiny has a crucial and valuable role through the estimates process, and we have been responsive, where possible, within reasonable limitations.

Madam Deputy Speaker, the committee’s report was accompanied by a second volume, the dissenting report prepared by Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth, which contained a further 123 recommendations. The government is disappointed that some members of the committee did not usefully engage during its deliberations. I note that while a separate report was prepared, the recommendations in some instances closely mirrored those in the committee’s report. The government have not responded to each individual recommendation of the dissenting report. However, we have provided a broad response to it.

In reviewing the document, I found it is ultimately an insincere document, and it reinforced the mockery of the estimates committee process by Mr Seselja and Mr Smyth. To provide some examples, the report’s authors have overlooked the independent expert analysis provided by ACIL Tasman, overlooked the facts which were presented to them by ministers and public servants and, for what one can only presume were in some cases for mischievous reasons, this resulted in false and inaccurate conclusions. The dissenting report demonstrates that the authors had little comprehension of the ACT economy or the drivers of key budget outcomes and it completely ignored the expert advice provided by ACIL Tasman in an effort to undermine the budget’s credibility.

The government is generally pleased with the findings of the ACIL Tasman report. It endorsed the approach of Treasury in using demand to gauge the strength of the ACT economy and it notes that the forecast of state final demand in the budget appears reasonable. It considered that the approaches adopted and the forecasts for employment growth, CPI growth and wage price index growth in the budget all appear reasonable. It considered that the long-term projections used in the ACT budget all appear reasonable. It noted that in 2010-2011 and the forward estimates there is nothing that appears unusual about the revenue forecast. Finally, it is recognised that the influence of the Australian government on the ACT economy makes the tasks of making forecasts for the ACT economy extremely difficult.

Madam Deputy Speaker, taking into account current economic information and the endorsement of the independent expert, I believe that we have demonstrated the inaccurate scrutiny, unsupported by evidence, in the dissenting report. It is a report which was poorly researched and referenced to support its claims and a report which lacked balance and credibility in dealing with the issues concerning the estimates process.

The report of the estimates committee and its recommendations did not raise any serious issues that would prevent the passing of the Appropriation Bill 2010-2011 this week. On behalf of the government, I repeat our thanks to the committee for its consideration of these issues and to the secretariat and the committee staff who worked very hard to get this estimates report tabled in the first week of the June sittings. I look forward to the Appropriation Bill being passed later this week in this place.

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