Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 11 February 2010) . . Page.. 279 ..
help the Treasurer out so that she might be able to facilitate her holidays in the middle of the estimates period, it is an appropriate thing today to put this on the table.
We have had some reform over previous years. The combination of having the estimates period clearly identified in the annual calendar and the establishment of the estimates committee reinforces the intention of the Assembly to use this process as effectively as possible.
It is also essential that the Treasurer appear on the first day of hearings and provide the context in which the committee will undertake its inquiry. Indeed, we look forward to the Treasurer’s appearance this year as the ACT continues to deal with the fallout from the global economic crisis. In particular, we anticipate her insights into the decisions we all know are required to restrain spending and bring the ACT’s budget back into surplus.
The resource requirements and administrative arrangements that are necessary for a successful estimates process are substantial in their call on the committee office. It is therefore essential that we provide that office with as much lead time as possible to make the necessary preparations.
In 2009 the Assembly determined that funding would be found to engage external expertise to assist with the committee in its deliberations. I have to say that as a member of that committee I found this innovation to be most worth while. It was extremely valuable to have this independent advice and commentary on the ACT budget. Contrary to the comments of the ACT Treasurer, the work prepared by Mr Tony Harris when he provided expert advice on the 2009-10 budget was examined very carefully by that committee last year. If the exact words used by Mr Harris were not used in the report, the sense of his argument and analysis were incorporated into the committee’s deliberation and final report.
I would like to see a person engaged again this year to perform a similar role with the estimates committee. Importantly, however, to provide the greatest amount of time in which to seek expressions of interest and engage a suitable person to provide this advice, setting up the committee today will facilitate this.
My overall objective in moving this motion now is to facilitate the capacity of this parliament to perform its role in scrutinising the budget that has been brought down by the government of the day, to hold the government to account for its decisions and for the outcomes of those decisions. I commend the motion to the house.
MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10:34): I move the amendment circulated in my name to Mr Smyth’s motion:
In paragraph (2)(a), omit “one”, substitute “two”.
The government will, of course, support the establishment of the Select Committee on Estimates as proposed by Mr Smyth and all the time frames and other procedural issues that are outlined in his motion.