Legislative Assembly for the ACT: Week 5 Hansard (14 May) . . Page.. 1921..
MR QUINLAN (continuing):
the Treasurer's Advance provisions in the Financial Management Act. These amendments will incorporate most of the PAC recommendations. I will address these recommendations and amendments when I table the bill later today.
I will now address the PAC recommendations, which will not be addressed in the government's amendment bill. Recommendation 2 (d) is not agreed. The government considers that the PAC recommendation of providing for the return of unspent funds to the territory banking account by 30 June each year is administratively unworkable and will result in a high risk of a breach of the Financial Management Act occurring. The government maintains its position that this provision is inconsistent with the ACT's appropriation framework and section 34B of the Financial Management Act, which enables unspent appropriated amounts to be carried forward in departmental bank accounts. Therefore, no amendment to the act has been proposed.
Recommendation 3 of the PAC report recommends that regulations be prepared regarding the use of the Treasurer's Advance. The intention of this recommendation is unclear, as the recommendation is not supported in the body of the PAC's report, which suggests the preparation of "appropriate administrative guidelines for the use of the Treasurer's Advance which would serve to minimise the risk of its misinterpretation". The government is preparing administrative guidelines for the use of the Treasurer's Advance, which is considered an appropriate mechanism for detailing procedural matters.
Recommendation 4 is agreed in principle. The PAC report states that the government should not circumvent the estimates process by using Treasurer's Advance to make payments for items already included in a supplementary appropriation bill. The government would not seek to intentionally circumvent the estimates process; however, there may be circumstances where it is virtually unavoidable to not use the Treasurer's Advance for items already included in a supplementary appropriation bill. For instance, there may be situations where an issue needs to be addressed more urgently than anticipated or where the Legislative Assembly processes and sitting pattern combine to result in a substantial delay between the presentation and the passage of an appropriation bill. In this case it may be necessary to use Treasurer's Advance, even though the expenditure is included in a supplementary appropriation bill. Therefore the government agrees with the recommendation in principle, noting that unequivocal agreement is not appropriate.
In conclusion, the government acknowledges the complexities that have arisen with the application of Treasurer's Advance provisions of the act and is committed to making amendments to these provisions that will further improve territory financial management practices. I trust that the Assembly will support the government's amendment bill, which I will table later today.
Auditor-General Amendment Bill 2004
Mr Stanhope , pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.
Title read by Clerk.