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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 709..


Thursday, 4 March 2004

The Assembly met at 10.30 am

MR SPEAKER (Mr Berry) took the chair at 10.30 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Visitors

MR SPEAKER: I would like to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of the Beijing Municipal Finance and Budgets Bureau. Welcome.

Financial Management Amendment Bill 2004

Mr Quinlan, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by clerk.

MR QUINLAN (Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Business and Tourism and Minister for Sport, Racing and Gaming) (10.32): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Mr Speaker, I table the Financial Management Amendment Bill 2004. This bill provides for amendments to the Financial Management Act. As has previously been stated in this chamber, the Financial Management Act is the cornerstone upon which effective financial management of the territory rests. For this reason, it is essential that the provisions of the act unambiguously convey financial requirements and obligations and also that the act imposes obligations and requirements that result in effective and efficient financial management practices.

This bill amends the act to extend the amended budget concept to include all appropriation variations and to move amended budget prescription to the financial management guidelines. This bill simplifies the budget amendment provisions in the act. The government believes that the current provisions are not optimal and could be improved to enable readers of financial statements to more clearly understand departmental financial performance.

The act requires annual financial statements to be prepared in a form that facilitates comparison with budgets. Where major variations occur during the financial year due to approved appropriation changes, it can be difficult to present financial statements that are comparable to the original budget presented in the budget papers. The act currently has a limited mechanism to enable this amendment to a department's budgeted information to be included in the financial statements.

The current concept of amending budgets for only some appropriation variations resulted in confusion during the preparation of the 2002-03 financial statements. Financial statements need to present useful information to readers. This understanding would be


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