Page 2351 - Week 07 - Tuesday, 31 July 2018

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simply because due process was not being followed. We uncovered overspending in the Floriade festival which required auditors to be called in: a figure close to the million dollar mark was overspent. We heard the tragic story of a family pet and beloved dog being put down without due process being followed by rangers; serious questions still require to be answered around that.

We saw the chair of Icon hiding behind the secrecy of an agreement between Icon Water and ActewAGL, their services agreement, which is costing ACT ratepayers and consumers millions of dollars a year. For what? We do not know, because the document has not been published in full.

We had some interesting moments when the Chief Minister tried to redefine the term “diversification” and when he referred to Canberra business owners who have had enough of the increased tax hikes that have been oppressively enforced year on year, and have taken it upon themselves to leave the jurisdiction, as “irrational”. That encapsulates the Chief Minister’s view of many ratepayers in the ACT: if they do not agree with him, they are simply irrational.

But I digress. I think the Treasurer has been exceptionally busy, probably busier than a contestant on MasterChef, trying to cook the books this year. There are significant questions around his definition of a surplus, the creative accounting or the fudging of the figures that has occurred around the treatment of the large-scale renewable energy certificates. This would be one of the first budgets where the Treasurer has claimed that not only is he delivering a surplus but net debt is increasing and net borrowings are increasing.

I refer you, Mr Barr, to the Macquarie Dictionary and the term “maladministration” During the hearings you seemed to misunderstand what that word meant. I suggest at this point that you refer to the dictionary and look up the word “surplus”.

MADAM SPEAKER: Through the chair, Mr Wall.

MR WALL: He needs to make himself more familiar with the term “surplus”, because clearly that is not what this budget has delivered.

Again, I would like to thank the members of the committee and the witnesses and community groups that appeared on the first day of hearings. That day provides a great level of insight for members of the committee into the areas of concern for those organisations and an opportunity for the committee to further examine those, moving forward over the 10 days of hearings with government officials.

I keenly await the Treasurer’s response to the report in the next sitting week.

MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (10.11): Like the committee chair, I would like to start by thanking the committee secretariat—Nicola in particular, but all the committee secretaries were involved. I thank them all for their wonderful contribution. And I thank my fellow committee members; we worked pretty well together, given everything.

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