Page 5066 - Week 12 - Wednesday, 26 October 2011

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things are dealt with and it is still not paid after 45 days then the interest starts kicking in.

That brings me to the amendment I have moved today. It is quite clear that Ms Le Couteur’s amendment is going to get up, and I seek the support of members of the Assembly to have the government provide information to the Assembly about the amount of interest that has been paid to people who have outstanding accounts over this financial year and the last financial year. It should not be overly onerous; it should not be difficult. These things should be generated by electronic reports, and Ms Le Couteur, with her business experience, would know these things. This amendment would enhance Ms Le Couteur’s amendment by drawing to the attention of the Assembly just how often interest is paid under the Labor-Greens agreement. Just how often does the Gallagher-Hunter government ensure that people who are owed money for long periods of time are not substantially out of pocket and that they receive their payments plus interest?

I would like to see how many other organisations around the place have been waiting 600 days and whether organisations and businesses that wait that long receive interest. It would be very revealing for the members of the business community and members of this Assembly. It was very interesting to listen to the Treasurer’s comments, because he skirted around the issue. He said, “Well, it’s possible the Financial Management Act allows us to do it,” but he would not actually provide information to the Assembly. This will be a test for the Greens and a test for the government—are they prepared to put that information on the table? I challenge the Greens and the government to do just that.

MR BARR: (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Education and Training and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (5.15): I have no problem with agreeing to this amendment, Madam Deputy Speaker. In the context of the information that will be reported and in the context of Ms Le Couteur’s amendment, I think the direction is for greater transparency in relation to the publication of these matters, and I do not have a problem with that at all.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (5.15): Likewise, the Greens have absolutely no problem with the idea of publishing information about interest paid. I think it is an excellent idea, Mrs Dunne.

Mrs Dunne’s amendment to Ms Le Couteur’s proposed amendment, as amended, agreed to.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (5.16): I might speak and close a most interesting debate this afternoon. I think the spin that both the Greens and the government have come in with—“We have extended the period to 45 days and that means that everybody’s bills are now going to be paid 50 per cent later”—is just bunkum. No-one has suggested that we would slow down the process. We have said, “We will extend the period to 45 days.” That allows those bills that might be contentious to be handled in that period of time and then, if necessary, after the 45 days interest will be paid.

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