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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 3 Hansard (19 March) . . Page.. 769 ..

Financial Management Amendment Bill 2019

Mr Barr, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (4.29): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I am pleased to introduce the Financial Management Amendment Bill 2019 to the Assembly. The government is committed to delivering our capital works program in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. This means that we will always seek to streamline the budget and program management processes, whilst maintaining the highest standard in accountability and transparency.

This bill proposes amendments to the Financial Management Act 1996 to make provisions for a capital works reserve as a mechanism for improving the accuracy of budget estimates and the performance of the territory's capital works program. The reserve achieves this aim by enabling agencies with multi-year capital budget funding to plan better for their capital works program delivery across the years within the budget process.

Agencies would be able to access their capital funding allocation for future years by requesting a capital works advance from the reserve should their capital expenditure in the budget year exceed their capital budget appropriation. To maintain budget and program neutrality when an agency accesses the reserve, offsetting reductions would be made to that agency's future capital works budget so there is no net budget or program impact over time.

The ability to access future funding through the reserve eliminates the need for agencies to allow for unexpected funding requirements in their estimated expenditure flows. This, in turn, will lead to more accurate budget estimates and better alignment of budget appropriation and expected program delivery outcome.

The reserve will be appropriated on an annual basis and capped at 20 per cent of the total amount appropriated for the capital works program by all appropriation acts for the financial year. Any amount undisbursed will lapse at the end of that year. Payment of the capital works advance will be authorised by the Treasurer of the day, subject to the Treasurer being satisfied that there is an immediate requirement for the capital works advance to be made to the requested agency, and that the advance is required in addition to the agency's capital works budget for the financial year.

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