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Friday, 11 October 1985
Page: 1118

(Questions Nos 423-450)


Senator Chaney asked all Ministers, upon notice, on 20 August 1985:

What was the value of purchases of equipment and services for each statutory authority in the Minister's portfolio for (a) 1979-80; (b) 1980-81; (c) 1981-82; (d) 1982-83; and (e) 1983-84.


Senator Walsh —As indicated above, the honourable senator asked identical questions of all Ministers. With their concurrence, I provide the following answer on behalf of all Ministers:

I refer the honourable senator to my answer, on behalf of all Ministers, to questions Nos 348-375 (Hansard, 10 September 1985, page 364).

I would point out that even the apparently more modest ambit of this set of questions would involve a substantial commitment of resources, in reviewing literally thousands of documents for each authority. This would effectively involve the examination of all financial transactions other than salary payments. I am not prepared to authorise the commitment of resources to such an excercise, if only for the reason that this Government is seeking to maintain a strict regime of fiscal discipline and responsibility in a very difficult budgetary and economic environment.

I would make the further point that this Government has introduced substantial reforms to Budget procedures. Such reforms include the presentation of additional information in Budget documents to ensure that the Parliament, and through it the people of Australia, receives the fullest possible information about the Government's overall administration and its particular Budget objectives.