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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3362..


MR STANHOPE (continuing):

Mr Speaker, this is a minor amendment in relation to costs and damages claims. These amendments were consequent on the passing of part 10.2, Mr Speaker, and I am not quite sure-

MR SPEAKER: It seems to me that you do not want to proceed with them at this stage. Why not then seek leave to withdraw it?

MR STANHOPE: I seek leave to withdraw amendment No 14.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Debate (on motion by Mr Hargreaves ) adjourned to a later hour.

Financial Management Amendment Bill 2002

Debate resumed from 22 August 2002, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

MR SMYTH (5.53): Mr Speaker, the opposition will be supporting this bill, but I do have a few comments to make on the nature of the bill and what it seeks to achieve. This bill makes a number of amendments to the Financial Management Act 1996, particularly in relation to financial targets, performance criteria, warrants, departmental bank accounts, and surplus cash accounts.

The Treasurer, in his presentation speech, acknowledged that the FMA is the cornerstone of the territory's financial reporting and accountability framework. In this context, it is quite reasonable to ensure that the FMA provides the optimum framework within which to manage the financial affairs of the ACT. However, at this time, it is also important to scrutinise the amendments to ensure that this fundamental objective is being achieved. I note an interesting error in the Treasurer's speech. He noted that the first ALP budget was brought down on 25 May 2002. In fact, it was 25 June 2002.

It is probably best to consider the proposed amendments in segments, as there are different intentions behind the various amendments. The first is clause 15, relating to the responsibility of chief executives. The bill provides that CEOs will be responsible for achieving financial targets and for ensuring that carryover funds are spent in accordance with the appropriation. Budget Paper No 4 of this year's budget sets out a number of key financial targets for each department. These are specific, public and identifiable and any amendments to these targets will be clearly identified.

Performance criteria are covered by clause 8. A significant issue in the Estimates Committee report on the 2002-03 budget was performance criteria or performance indicators. There were issues relating to the effective use of the performance indicators, the way the performance indicators could be changed or deleted and whether particular performance indicators were appropriate indicators. This bill provides for amendments to be made to the performance indicators and for these amendments to be notifiable instruments. Therefore, the public will be better informed. Importantly, where any performance indicators are changed, sufficient information must be supplied to provide


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