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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 20 April 2021) . . Page.. 821 ..


Committees—Standing

Report—government response

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (11.09): For the information of members, I present the following paper:

Standing Committees—Reports on 2020-21 ACT Budget and the Appropriation Bill 2020-2021 and the Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill 2020-21—Government response, dated April 2021.

I move:

That the Assembly take note of the paper.

I present the government’s response to the matters raised by the standing committee reports into the 2020-21 territory budget, the Appropriation Bill and the Appropriation (Office of the Legislative Assembly) Bill. I thank the various committees for their analysis of the budget and the accompanying appropriation bills and I further acknowledge the adept assistance provided by the secretariat teams in the preparation of each of the committee’s reports.

This morning we have heard about the collegiate way in which the standing committees conducted the hearings, and I would like to acknowledge that as well. I thank my ministerial colleagues and government officials for their active engagement in responding to the many queries that were raised during the hearings. Another contributor to this process I wish to recognise is Pegasus Economics. I thank that organisation for providing its insights into the budget and other aspects of the territory’s financial management. The government respects and values the important role played by the various standing committees in scrutinising the proposed expenditure.

In delivering the government’s response to the matters raised I wish to detail the circumstances in which the 2020-21 territory budget was developed and delivered. As we are all too aware, the budget was delivered in the context of an ongoing global health pandemic and at a time when we would ordinarily have delivered a budget review. This delivery schedule was consistent with the decision of national cabinet in March last year that states and territories would delay the delivery of their fiscal 2020-21 budgets, an arrangement subsequently endorsed by the Assembly. The delay in the budget until February this year, of course, reflected the timing of the caretaker period and the territory election that was held late last year. This approach allowed the territory government and all other jurisdictions to focus on the immediate and pressing priorities of responding to the public health emergency and associated economic impacts.

Despite the gap of more than 18 months since the last ACT budget was released, we continued to employ other mechanisms to ensure that this Assembly and the broader territory population were being kept informed as to significant policy decisions and financial updates. Information was provided via a detailed ministerial statement on


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