Page 2851 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 13 August 2013
note that. That is an ongoing conversation; that is a matter for debate at some stage, no doubt, in this Assembly. But that is something that cannot take effect until after the October 2016 election. The government is essentially saying. “We’re going to sit on our hands and not do anything for over three years.” The government is out there and the Chief Minister has said repeatedly, using things like the Hawke review to back her up, that the size of the Assembly needs to be reviewed and the ministry is too small. I accept that; I agree with that. It seems to me that the ministry would be enhanced by the appointment of another minister. So why will the government not do that?
Various arguments have been put forward by the government with regard to the backbenchers being too busy. Again, I think that is a bit of a nonsense. The members here can draw their own conclusions about why the Chief Minister does not want to appoint a sixth minister. The conclusion that we have drawn on our side is that she has not got anyone on the backbench who is capable of being a sixth minister. That is a problem for the government, but it should not stop the government from legislating for it and finding the best of a bad bunch and getting on with the business of appointing one of those four as a minister. I am not picking favourites here—that is a matter for the Chief Minister to determine. I accept it is a challenging proposition for the Chief Minister and it causes her and her backbench some embarrassment, but it should occur.
I commend the two recommendations of the estimates committee to the Assembly. Ironically, they were not supported by Mr Gentleman and Dr Bourke who would be the direct beneficiaries of that. But that is probably a matter for another day. I commend the work of the estimates committee to the Assembly and I again call on the government to appoint the sixth minister.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Chief Minister, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Health and Minister for Higher Education) (12.17): As I said, this part relates to funding for the ACT executive. The funding outlined in the budget provides for five ministers and their staff, including staffing for the crossbench member’s work in the government’s executive. I note the points made by Mr Hanson and his very significant interest and concern in matters that really are up to the Chief Minister to decide. That is outlined in our response to the estimates report.
Proposed expenditure agreed to.
Proposed expenditure—Part 1.2—Auditor-General—$2,598,000 (net cost of outputs), totalling $2,598,000.
MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (12.18): The funding of the Auditor-General is, of course, very important money given the valuable work that the audit office does. As I have said in this place many times before, the standard overseas and certainly in Australia is that for every dollar you spend on the Auditor-General’s office there is a tenfold return which goes into either savings or better service delivery or greater efficiencies. The shame of this year’s appropriation for the Auditor-General is that it does not see any increase at all relative to the importance of the job. There is some adjustment for CPI, but what it means is the Auditor-General is now locked into a position where the