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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 June 2011) . . Page.. 2597 ..


The government has generally accepted or noted the majority of the recommendations in the committee’s report. In our response, the government has agreed to 68 recommendations, agreed in principle to 18 recommendations, agreed in part to four recommendations, noted 78 recommendations, and not agreed to 26 recommendations.

In respect of the instances where recommendations were not agreed, the government has taken the time to assess what is being asked. In relation to additional disclosures in the budget papers, the government has assessed the objectives, intent and information currently provided in the budget papers and considers the outcome of these recommendations as not being practices for inclusion in the budget papers or that the information is more appropriately released in other publications.

The government has also not agreed to several of the government office building recommendations on the basis that detailed analysis has already been undertaken on many of the issues and the information is available in various reports provided to the committee. Additional work in this regard will not be duplicated. In relation to other recommendations not agreed, it has been generally considered that the recommendations have been resolved through other mechanisms, do not align with legislative practice or reverse previous decisions of government.

The government is also generally pleased with the findings of the ACIL Tasman report. I would like to highlight these findings. It noted that forecast GSP growth appears reasonable. It considered that the approach adopted and the forecast for employment growth in the budget appeared reasonable. It considered that the long-term projections used in the ACT budget all appear reasonable, and it noted that GST revenue forecasts are sound and general rates revenue forecasts seem reasonable. These findings are a testament to our principle of responsible financial management practices.

Mr Speaker, I would also like to express my concern with the level of time, disproportionate to the scrutiny of other important budgetary issues, spent on the government office building. While the government values and embraces the scrutiny process, a disproportionate amount of time has been spent on this project, to the detriment of scrutiny over other equally important projects, programs and community services. The government has been open and transparent with the provision of detailed analysis and findings to support the decision to proceed with the project, but this is not where the majority of taxpayer resources are being invested.

To conclude, the report of the estimates committee and its recommendations do not raise any issues that would prevent the passing of the Appropriation Bill 2011-2012. On behalf of the government, I express thanks to the committee for its consideration of these issues and remind the Assembly of the important and essential investments being made through this budget to support the continued growth and prosperity of the territory. I commend the government response to the Assembly.

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.18): I thank the government for tabling their response to the report of the Select Committee on Estimates 2011-2012 on the Appropriation Bill 2011-2012. I just want to go to the first half dozen recommendations, Mr Speaker.


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