End of year spending sprees by Rann Government Ministers must be investigated by the Auditor-General, according to Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Latest figures show that some Labor Ministers actually spent up to 67 percent of their total capital works spend in June 2004 – the last month of the 2003-04 financial year,” Mr Lucas said today.
“For example, Trish White the then Minister for Transport spent $39.5m in June alone and the Attorney-General’s Department under Michael Atkinson spent 67 percent of its total 2003-04 spend also in June.”
The figures show:
Agency June 2004 Spending June 2004 Spending as Percentage of 2003-04 Total Actual Capital Spending
Attorney-General $0.78m 67.4%
Transport $39.50m 28.9%
Country Fire Service $4.93m 45.7%
Education $10.58m 28.4%
Environment $5.88m 42.2%
Human Services $33.21m n.a.
Police $3.84m 39.5%
“It is hard to believe that there can be valid reasons for all of these agencies to spend between 28 percent and 67 percent of their total capital works budget in the last month of the year,” Mr Lucas said.
“This June 2004 spending spree is even worse than the spending spree in June 2003 when some Ministers spent up to 46 percent of their total budget.
“How well are public services being provided to the community if up to 67 percent of the capital budget is sprayed around in the last month of the financial year?
“It is now clear that the Rann Government’s new ‘carryover’ policy (which is central to the current ‘stashed cash’ inquiry involving the beleaguered Attorney-General) is a major factor in Ministers and Departments now going on a spending spree in June of each year.
“Kevin Foley needs to come clean on this issue and give an assurance that all of these payments were proper and in accordance with all Treasurer’s Instructions and government guidelines.
“The Auditor-General should also conduct an inquiry and in particular assure the Parliament that none of these payments were pre-payments for services to be delivered at a later stage, or that there was any organised process to pay accounts before the normal time frame for payment of accounts.
“This issue should also be investigated by the Legislative Council Select Committee looking at all of the issues related to the stashed cash scandal.”