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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 16 September 2021) . . Page.. 2675 ..


proposed because it “reflects the heightened risks and uncertainties associated with the current health and economic situations,” and we accept that assessment.

The third is clause 6, which amends section 24(3) of the FMA. Clause 6 requires the Under Treasurer to provide the Auditor-General with the annual financial statements of the territory for the financial year in sufficient time for the Auditor-General to provide an audit opinion about the statements within five months after the end of the financial year. This is an additional month from the agreed reporting period as outlined in the FMA and an increase of two months from any other non-pandemic affected year.

We understand that the Auditor-General has been consulted and understands the requirements for extension. That advice was also sought from the Government Solicitor’s office to ensure that all legal requirements can be met pursuant to the requirements under this section. I thank the staff in the Treasurer’s office for providing us with the draft bill and also for answering my questions in the briefing taken yesterday afternoon.

Madam Speaker, I confirm that the Canberra Liberals will be supporting this bill today to ensure that the necessary functions of government can continue. We will, however, continue to maintain a close eye on government expenditure, as is our duty and our role, not only because government decisions must be transparent and accountable at all times but also because each and every one of us knows how significant this time is for our economy and the impacts it has and will have on many Canberrans.

MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (6.14): Similar to my comments on the last motion, this Financial Management Amendment Bill 2021 today adjusts the mechanics around the necessary changes that have arisen from the change in the timing of the budget and the need to step outside the usual framework for when the budget is handed down. For the second year in a row, the budget timetable has been thrown into chaos compared to what we are used to, with the normal winter period for estimates hearings and the like. Instead we will be considering it in spring. This is, of course, very necessary in order to accommodate the situation in which we find ourselves.

It is also unusual to bring in a bill and pass it on the same day. Of course, it is outside the standing orders, but I appreciate the early circulation of this bill and the opportunity for people to be briefed on it so that it is a no-surprises situation. Everyone was made well aware of the necessity of passing this bill today.

Ms Lee has given a good summary of the bill. Given the hour, I will not make any further comments, other than to indicate that the Greens support this, having regard to the necessary circumstances.

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Climate Action, Minister for Economic Development and Minister for Tourism) (6.15), in reply: I thank all parties and speakers for their support of this dull, but very essential, piece of legislation.


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