Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2673 ..
is going to follow this one in relation to some minor amendments to the FMA for 2021 in relation to supply provisions and the Treasurer’s advance and the time frame for the 2021 annual financial statements that are required for the Auditor-General. It is relatively straightforward, Madam Speaker. These dates have been provided earlier and I understand briefings have been provided to all parties in terms of the forward sitting program and the changes to the FMA Act. I commend the motion to the Assembly.
MS LEE (Kurrajong—Leader of the Opposition) (6.06): The Canberra Liberals will be supporting the Treasurer’s motion today. The immediate days that followed after the ACT was plunged into a lockdown on 12 August were a time of great uncertainty and, in some cases, fear for many Canberrans. It became clear within a few days that the short, sharp, seven-day lockdown that was originally announced was going to be extended. Given the uncertain nature of the health situation at the time, all parties in this chamber agreed to the cancellation of the scheduled sitting week beginning 31 August. This was the date that was also, of course, scheduled for the delivery of the 2021-22 ACT budget.
The past five weeks have seen many Canberrans face hardship in a way that they have never faced before. With the lockdown extension announced on Tuesday for a further four weeks, there is no doubt that our immediate future also holds uncertainty for many Canberrans already doing it tough. Any government faced with challenges like this must step up and respond in the best interests of its constituents. I am sure that we can debate back and forth about whether each and every decision has achieved that, and we have seen that throughout the day. We acknowledge that the Treasurer’s motion to delay the budget is a necessary step based on decisions that were made at a time where none of us knew what our short and medium-term future would hold for the precarious health situation in the capital.
I note that the Treasurer’s motion confirms the introduction of the Financial Management Amendment Bill, which will be debated after this motion. I will go into more detail about those amendments at that time. Importantly, however, this motion acknowledges the Treasurer’s commitment to consult all parties if any further fiscal process or legislative amendments are required. I welcome that inclusion in the motion. The Canberra Liberals support the motion.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (6.08): The Greens will also be supporting this motion as flagged by the Chief Minister. These are really necessary mechanical changes in light of the circumstances that have arisen—the cancellation of the sitting in late August, when the budget was meant to be scheduled, and the realignment of the budget calendar. I thank the Chief Minister for the earlier consultation on the proposed model. I think there has been a good discussion amongst the parties. We have a clear pathway forward and we are very pleased to support the motion.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Mr Gentleman) agreed to, with the concurrence of an absolute majority: