Published: 08 November 2017

Legislative Council Thursday 19 October 2017

Ms  FORREST (Murchison ) - Mr President, I want to ask a question of the Government in light of the debate we have just had, particularly with regard to the money referred to for the King Island shipping service and the response the Leader provided.  As I said in my contribution, the minister advised the committee on 10 August the $900 000 to secure that interim service before the Investigator II could start - I am reading Hansard - would be paid out of the island shipping emergency fund.

I was drawn to this point of the report, where it said part of the money coming from student-only passenger services and interagency transfer was to provide funding to the Shipping and ferry subsidies output group to support the shipping service for King Island.  The Leader confirmed that is what it was for for that period.  The minister told us on 10 August this funding was approved on 21 June, six weeks before, when the minister told us it was out of the Emergency Shipping Fund.  The minister should inform the committee of the correct information.  Clearly he is not accurate in what he has told the committee.

The question I am asking is, what money came from the Emergency Shipping Fund?  Where does the Emergency Shipping Fund sit and how much was in it?  Why was he not aware this money was through an interagency transfer?  How much of it - it says $900 000 the total amount, which tells me the King Island shipping fund had a balance of zero.  Why did he not know?  Did he not tell the truth in the committee?

I did ask the Leader and she did not get to answer, but I accept she has taken some questions on notice.  The Student-only services had $7.45 million removed from it to fund the shipping service for King Island and Non-metropolitan general access services.  When you look at the budget papers, it is the whole line item of the whole budget.  It is more than the budget I can find for the year that has been removed and transferred from Student-only passenger services for other purposes.  Some of it was to the Transport Access Scheme and some of it to pensioners, such as travel subsidy.

Clearly it seems the minister is not across the portfolio; he is not across where the money is coming and going from.  I hope he is able to promptly provide an accurate response.  The committee is in the process of trying to finalise a report.  Potentially we are going to be including inaccurate information.  I hope that is not the case.

Mr Dean - It could be a genuine error.

Ms FORREST - It could be and that is why I am giving them a chance to respond.  I am not accusing.  I am asking what is going on.  He should have known where that money came from.  It is $900 000, just shy of $1 million.  He said it came from somewhere where it clearly did not.  It was approved in June.  Discussion would have been before it was approved.  The cost was incurred in the February/March period.  I suggest the minister is not across the portfolio.

Mrs Hiscutt - I hope I have not misread something in what I committed.

Ms FORREST - You were reading your response from your advisers.  They will go back, I am sure.  I expect a letter to the committee from the minister.

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