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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 8 Hansard (29 August) . . Page.. 2341..

MR SMYTH: I have, Mr Speaker. During question time, I asked the Chief Minister, given that he had definitely ruled out tax relief, what would happen to the windfall. The Chief Minister said that that was not true and that he had not ruled out tax relief. I refer him to his own press release of 15 August—

MR SPEAKER: Order! What does this have to do with misrepresenting you?

MR SMYTH: Well, he claimed he had not said it, and he has.

MR SPEAKER: That is not a personal explanation.

Executive business—precedence

Motion (by Mr Corbell ) agreed to:

That executive business be called on forthwith.

Appropriation Bill 2007-2008

[Cognate paper:

Estimates 2007-2008-Select Committee report-government response]

Detail stage

Debate resumed from 28 August 2007.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.5—Department of Treasury, $49,205,000 (net cost of outputs), $31,821,000 (capital injection) and $35,800,000 (payments on behalf of the territory), totalling $116,826,000.

MR STEFANIAK (Ginninderra-Leader of the Opposition) (3.27): In relation to this part of the budget, I wish to deal with the matter of formatting in the budget papers. The Stanhope government has made aspects of the government utterly inscrutable and difficult to understand by changing the goal posts for the formatting of the budget from year to year over the past few years. Proper and comparable measurements are fundamental for making sense of budget figures. In this year's budget, there were changes in the presentation of numbers, which makes assessing figures between budget years like comparing apples and oranges. For example, the 2005-06 budget gives data on staff head count while the 2006-07 budget figures are based on full-time employment numbers, FTEs.

The opposition is making a number of recommendations with respect to the format of the budget figures. We are recommending that where changes in presentation of numbers of any kind are implemented from one budget to another, the changes should be explained and comparative figures shown. That is fairly logical, I would think, and something that I recall happening probably about 10 years ago.

Future budget papers also need to disclose for estimated outcome the actual FTE numbers at the end of the quarter immediately prior to the budget release date, and the actual head count numbers as at that date and the number of approved FTE positions

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