Page 3179 - Week 10 - Thursday, 15 August 2013
their budget commitments. I think that, despite the Chief Minister’s protestations yesterday that none of the work has started on the new initiatives, I would be very surprised if that was the case. I would be very surprised if some of the staff have not done some work on some of the new initiatives.
Mr Barr: You can’t procure things without an authorisation.
MR SMYTH: Well, I would be very, very surprised. So that is the dilemma that we face. I suspect we will not get too many answers from the Treasurer, when he stands, as to what the cost of floods and various things have truly been. He said in his statements in the estimates committee that all of that increase was due to the flood. How would one know?
That is the problem with this budget; that is the problem with what we are doing this week; that is the problem with what we are doing tonight. As the Chief Minister said, transparent, collaborative and participative; those three words certainly are not words that you would associate with this budget and certainly not with this line.
MR BARR (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Sport and Recreation, Minister for Tourism and Events and Minister for Community Services) (7.49): The appropriation for ACTEW relates to concessions for Canberra households. The government provides this funding to ACTEW to finance the concessions program. That is actually what we are appropriating.
On some of the matters that Mr Smyth has raised, in relation to the price differential between the pre-flood and floods, plural, dam costing and the final budget, obviously ACTEW and the Bulk Water Alliance will provide that information in due course. Just to ensure there is no misunderstanding with those opposite, floods, plural—weather events—certainly have contributed to the increase in the budget for that project. Mr Sullivan and those associated with the project more directly have indicated that in some detail.
When Mr Coe, I believe it was, put a series of questions on notice—quite a detailed series of questions on notice—ACTEW and the Bulk Water Alliance, I understand, took a number of engineers off-line for a number of weeks to answer Mr Coe’s questions. There will of course be more information provided when it becomes available.
In relation to the ICRC determination and these suggestions that have been bandied about that ACTEW is at some risk of insolvency, that could only occur if the ICRC chose it to, as they are the regulator; they determine, authorise and assess the regulated asset base and make all the—
Mr Smyth: So it’s all the ICRC’s fault.
MR BARR: They make all the determinations. They set the price, they say what ACTEW can and cannot spend in terms of capital that is included or not included in the regulated asset base. If they change their position then, yes, they could send the