Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 1 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 342..
MRS DUNNE: I move:
Executive business, omit "No. 14 relating to the Government response on full retail
competition impact on ACT low income earners.".
Amendment agreed to.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Public Accounts-Standing Committee
MRS DUNNE (5.25): The opposition will be supporting this referral to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. I place on record that this matter was not done cleanly, neatly and according to script this morning because, unfortunately, the Treasurer forgot important parts of the script, which is why the matter was adjourned. This is the second instance this week where the Treasurer has sought to do things by leave and has failed to meet the usual courtesies of the house of alerting people in advance. He did it with the gaming machine bill earlier in the week and he has done it on this occasion- not to the opposition but to the Democrats. We need to place on record that certain courtesies apply in here and one is to give someone a heads up if you are going to seek leave to give an explanation. That was only half done. The opposition is quite happy with the arrangement, but those courtesies should be extended to the crossbench, even if the government does not like doing it.
MS DUNDAS (5.27): I thank members for allowing this debate to be adjourned. It gave us a few hours to consider the impact of what the Treasurer was asking us to do. At the moment, the current wording of the Financial Management Act does not specify whether the Treasurer's Advance or a supplementary appropriation is the appropriate process to meet expenditure requirements not accounted for in the budget. Presently, where expenditure could not be reasonably foreseen and included in the first appropriation act, the expenditure can be funded using either process. The Financial Management Act is also currently unclear about the guidelines that need to be followed when the Treasurer's Advance is then required to be used or decided to be used. That is why I put the amendments forward in the Financial Management Amendment Bill 2003 (No 3).
I am keen to see section 18 of the Financial Management Act clarified, the wording strengthened and the guidelines set in stone so that we do not have continuing confusion about when is the appropriate time to use the Treasurer's Advance. I would like to see that happen sooner rather than later because we still have money sitting in the Treasurer's Advance at the moment. In the next budget we will get around $20 million to $25 million from the Treasurer's Advance. It is important for us to be assured that this money is being used properly. The Treasurer wants the Public Accounts Committee to look at general questions around the Treasurer's Advance and to report no later than 1 April 2004.