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I am interested in the second part of the motion, which suggests that no funds transfers should occur between programs during the supply period. I am interested in that, because you simply do not account against supply Bills, as Ms Follett knows. I do not think it particularly makes a whole lot of difference, but I cannot see that there is any point at all. What we do not want to do here is pass a motion where the information is already there on the table and the second part of the motion actually does not do anything at all. For the life of me, I cannot see what the Opposition is trying to get at.
I think it is important to restate some of the issues from the debate yesterday. What is a supply Bill? A supply Bill merely appropriates an amount of money to allow the Government to continue the programs, the approaches, that are currently in place until a budget comes down. I think yesterday we got somewhat confused with debating the difference between a supply Bill and a budget. Budgets are accounted against; they are reported against. The issue is that a budget is an accountable document. Obviously, a supply Bill is an accountable document as well. This Supply Bill simply enables the public sector to continue with the commitments that are currently in place pending the budget. Those are commitments like grants to community organisations, the delivery of service, payment of contracts, payment of public service salaries and, importantly, ACT obligations to service debts to the Commonwealth, other lenders and so on. That is what this Bill is about.
I can guarantee to this Assembly that there are no major policy shifts somehow hidden in this Supply Bill. The Supply Bill is simply to get us through to the budget. When we have the budget, all will be on the table. I explained it this morning to those who were interested. Because of the way that we will be putting together this budget it will be substantially more open and accountable than has been the case in the past, with reporting to subprogram level. When reporting starts on the new budget layout, for the first time we will be able to see right down to subprogram level. We have never had that sort of information before. In terms of being able to see where money goes in the ACT Government, the new approach will be different. That is the budget. The Supply Bill is simply to appropriate money to allow the Government to go on with its current approach, to get us by, to pay the salaries - all those sorts of things - until we get to the budget.
Everybody who knows something about governments would know that currently the Government is involved in the budget process in budget Cabinet, determining what the new policy directions will be, how we are going to pay for them and what the budget will actually look like. Those decisions have not been made, and that is the reason we have gone for a late budget. The information we have given today gives the same information as was given in the supply appropriations Part 1 summary of the last Supply Bill. The information is already there on the table. The Treasury officials have worked very hard last night and today and they have produced the information. They have not done anything else, but they have produced the information here. If that is what the Assembly wants, that is what is here on the table. I still have my reservations - - -