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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 1 April 2004) . . Page.. 1558 ..


allocating funds and I understand this need. At the same time similar transparency is provided by s18(4) of the above act. In using the Treasurer’s Advance, the Treasurer must provide a statement of the reasons for giving the authorisation and permit the ‘appropriateness’ of these reasons to then be scrutinised by the Assembly.

It is erroneous to say that there is no scrutiny and no transparency by the use of the Treasurer’s Advance. Mr Smyth has already quoted me as saying:

The use of the Treasurer’s Advance is legal—

the committee has been assured of this by legal advice and by advice received from the Auditor-General—

is appropriate in this matter, is subject to measures guaranteeing accountability and should not be ruled out in the fourth recommendation.

A final comment in relation to that is that the time taken for the supplementary appropriation bill to be drawn up and passed in the Assembly can be anything between six and 14 weeks. As the need for expenditure would have been foreseen at the time of the supplementary appropriation bill, the need for urgency would have made it necessary to use the Treasurer’s Advance. While the estimates process was under way, the need for that money could have been urgent. To make a department or a section of a department wait when the need is urgent would be problematic.

I commend the rest of the report. It will enable the government to bring its amendments before the Assembly and Ms Dundas’s bill to be considered at the same time, as is appropriate.

MS DUNDAS (6.04): I will speak only briefly on the report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts at this time because I would like more time to consider what the committee has put forward. I think the committee has had some very interesting discussions on the Financial Management Act. I will be considering both Ms MacDonald’s dissenting report and the advice from the Government Solicitor with great interest. In relation to appendix B on page 25, I assure the Assembly that I was a witness who appeared before the committee. Some of the evidence given is quoted in the report. I would have like to have seen more of the evidence quoted in the report. I will consider the report with interest and look forward to further debate on the issue of accountability through the Financial Management Act and Treasurer’s Advance.

MS TUCKER (6.05): Mr Smyth has summarised the report of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. The evidence given to the committee is pretty clear, especially that of the Auditor-General, on how we can bring greater accountability and reasonableness into the use of the Treasurer’s Advance. Ms Dundas’s suggestions on their own are not workable. However, if the government complied with our recommendations in terms of further elaborating on the criteria that can be used to justify TA to the Commonwealth definition of “expenditure”, so that you do not have the question of what is and is not foreseeable, which is problematic for the reasons that Mr Quinlan and others explained—there are other criteria such as error in omission—it would make that more workable.

We also recommended that, when it comes to a proper examination and appropriation through an estimates process for a supplementary appropriation, the government should


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