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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 22 April 2021) . . Page.. 1123 ..


Treasurer’s Advance—Part 1.23

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (5.11): Again, very briefly, Madam Speaker, if no-one else will be speaking on this, I just advise that the Treasurer’s advance in this budget year represents five per cent of total appropriations. This is significantly higher than would normally be the case; it is normally set at around one per cent of appropriations. The reason for the higher amount is to allow the government to respond to any urgent or unforeseen needs during the COVID public health emergency. A similar provision was put in place for the previous fiscal year.

For the benefit of members, clearly any expenditure against the Treasurer’s advance is reported to Assembly members, because nearly $300 million is a significant amount of money.

In case you had not noticed, colleagues, the listing, distribution and order of debate for the budget is listed by size of appropriation. This is larger than the appropriation for many directorates. The reason for it being this large this year is, as I say, to respond to COVID-19.

When—“when”, I will say confidently—we move out of the public health directions, the public health emergency, it would be my expectation that the Treasurer’s advance would return to its more normal levels of approximately one per cent of total appropriations. I commend the Treasurer’s advance to the Assembly.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Capital works reserve—Part 1.24

MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (5.13): The capital works reserve appears to be an unnecessary budget provision that indicates gross mismanagement of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. I remind the government that the money they spend belongs to constituents. If they managed our money properly and got Canberra’s priorities right, we would see major projects delivered on time, on budget, without the need for a reserve. This would free up vital funding to improve the inadequate services being delivered by the government in health care, education, roads, policing, housing, and corrections, to name a few. Instead, we have an infrastructure slush fund to cover up failures. A Canberra Liberals government would get this spending into line and focus it on areas that matter most to Canberrans.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (5.14): I am going to have to again correct Mr Cain’s understanding of a legislated provision—within the Financial Management Act, in this instance, something that was debated by this place and agreed to.


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