Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 4 Hansard (26 March) . .
(3) the Standing Committee on Public Accounts is to report to the Assembly by 1 May 2015. If the Assembly is not sitting when the Committee has completed its report the Speaker, or in the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker is authorised to make directions for its printing, publication and distribution.
Obviously annual reports are an important part of government accountability. The bill that has been before us today seeks to attempt to streamline the requirements that are contained in the preparation of annual reports so that government staff do not need to replicate their reporting work by meeting reporting requirements in two places and also sometimes report information in further places. This is an attempt to make the process simpler.
That said, it is a complex bill. I think it is valuable. I know that there has been some discussion with the public accounts committee. But in work that has gone on in recent times it has become clear there are still discussions about some of the important details. I think there is a commitment across the chamber to actually make sure that we get this right. Again, I think there is an acknowledgement across the chamber that there is room to improve the efficiency of these things whilst at the same time make sure that the information is made available.
My motion simply proposes to refer the bill to the public accounts committee for inquiry and report. It proposes that the committee consider the bill in conjunction with online reporting requirements. I think this is an important consideration because with an increasing amount of government information being put online, this again raises questions about whether it should go in the annual report or, in fact, whether it can be done in a more timely manner so that one does not have to wait until the end of year online. Those are the sorts of questions that I think are coming before us as well.
Finally, the committee is asked to report to the Assembly by 1 May and, if the Assembly is not sitting, to report through the Speaker. This is to enable the work to be done in a timely manner, for members to receive the report, and then if amendments are warranted, for those to be done in time for the next sitting period.
That is the purpose of the motion. I note that Mr Hanson just could not help himself today. Everything you need to know about Mr Hanson's character was laid bare in the Assembly today in those remarks that he made about the decision to refer this to the committee. I commend my motion to the Assembly. I look forward to the work of the public accounts committee on this bill.
MR HANSON (Molonglo—Leader of the Opposition) (12.15): We will support the motion. I think the problem that Mr Rattenbury faces is that he must have been asleep in cabinet when this went through. Now this is lumped on his desk today and everyone is flurrying around in the Greens trying to work out what is going on.
If he wants to have a crack at me to cover up his own embarrassment, that is fine. But I do not know how this is some slight on my character or anything like that. This is a government bill. Mr Rattenbury is a member of the government. It has then come before this chamber. The opposition is ready to go. The Labor Party is ready to go, as I understood it. Mr Rattenbury is all in a tizzy, and that is somehow my fault.
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