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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2573 ..

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (11.03): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

Today I am introducing the Financial Management Amendment Bill 2021. After more than a year without any COVID-19 in the community, this outbreak has required us to act swiftly and decisively. Based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer on 12 August, the territory entered lockdown to limit the transmission of the virus. This, of course, had flow-on effects, including a delay in the 2021-22 budget and the introduction of the 2021-22 appropriation bills that were scheduled to be introduced on 31 August.

This bill seeks to introduce similar time-limited amendments that were agreed by the Ninth Legislative Assembly in 2020. This legislation is required to ensure the ongoing operations of government and to provide support to continue critical services to the ACT community.

The Financial Management Act 1996 currently limits the amount of funding available during the supply period to 50 per cent of the amount appropriated by the appropriation acts for the immediately previous financial year. This bill amends the FMA to increase the appropriation for the 2021-22 supply period from 50 per cent to 75 per cent and increases the amount available for the Treasurer’s advance payments from one per cent of the appropriation to five per cent of the appropriation for the 2020-21 appropriation acts.

The increases for the supply period and the Treasurer’s advance funding are necessary to ensure the ongoing operations of government and our ability to support the community and business over the course of 2021-22. The delay of the 2021-22 budget also means that it is necessary to extend the reporting time frames by one month for the audit of the 2020-21 annual financial statements of the territory. This amendment would result in the Auditor-General’s audit opinion on the statements being provided to me by 30 November 2021.

Through the bill, the government continues to ensure the ongoing delivery of services and the necessary support to the community and business during these difficult times. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Ms Lee) adjourned to a later hour this day.

Operational Efficiencies (COVID-19) Legislation Amendment Bill 2021

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

Title read by Clerk.

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