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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 1 Hansard (15 February) . . Page.. 218 ..

MR HUMPHRIES (continuing):

Whether they take part or not, Mr Speaker, let me make one thing quite clear: this process will go on, and it will go on with the cooperation and the support of ordinary members of the ACT community, because they took part last year and they tell us they want to take part again this year. Whether Assembly committees are involved a matter for them. I believe this motion facilitates their involvement if they wish it and, if not, we have the capacity here for the process to go on without the committees' involvement. It is entirely up to them, but I do urge this motion on the house and hope that we will have support for a revised consultation process on the 2001-02 budget.

MR SPEAKER: Chief Minister, you should formally move the revised motion that you have circulated.


That, notwithstanding the resolution of 28 April 1988, as amended on 25 November 1999, 7 December 2000 and 15 February 2001, which appointed the General Purpose Standing Committees for this Assembly:

the 2001-02 draft Budget initiatives and the 2001-02 draft Capital Works Program for each appropriation unit be referred to the relevant General Purpose Standing Committee, for inquiry into and report by 23 March 2001 with either:

(a) recommendations that maintain or improve the operating result; or

(b) a conclusion that the Committee will not proceed with the consideration of the 2001-02 draft Budget initiatives and the 2001-02 draft Capital Works Program;

the relevant draft budget documents be provided by the Treasurer to the Presiding Member of each Standing Committee by close of business Friday, 16 February 2001;

if the Assembly is not sitting when the Committees complete their inquiries, the Committee may send their reports to the Speaker or, in the absence of the Speaker, to the Deputy Speaker who is authorised to give directions for its printing, circulation and publication; and

the foregoing provisions of this resolution have effect notwithstanding anything contained in the standing orders.

MR KAINE (11.18): Mr Speaker, the matter before us is an important one, and I hope that it will not be dealt with in terms of political attitudes to the budget, as the Chief Minister implied. We have just concluded a debate on the report of the Select Committee on the Report of the Review of Governance, and one of the recommendations was that this draft budget process be adopted. The government accepted that recommendation and we have just concluded the debate and nobody spoke against it, so presumably the Assembly tacitly accepts the draft budget process that the government tried last year and is proposing again this year. I do not have any great objection to that, as long as the premises underlying it are clearly understood and everybody knows what is going on.

There is always going to be a short time scale attached to committee consideration of the draft budget at this stage, because the government has to conclude the budget, get it on the table and passed before the end of June, so we are always going to be constrained by time. That introduces some significant problems because, if it is the government's view that consideration by the committees is the only mechanism through which the community can make its influence felt, it places a very heavy onus on the committees to satisfy the community need in a very short time.

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